Voice of the voiceless was Former Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, who passed away at the age of 81. A Doctorate in Canon Law from Rome, he was ordained as the second Bishop of Mannar in 1992.
Under his leadership, the Mannar diocese opened up homes for war orphans, abandoned children and the elderly, health care centers, dispensaries, girls’ hostels, vocational training centers, rehabilitation centers for refugees, centers for fishermen, and conducting human rights training programs for the clergy and civilians.
During the civil-war years, he was the voice of the voiceless civilians in the north of Sri Lanka. Bishop Rayappu did foster the spirit of humanism and human rights, as he believed human values and Christian values are one and the same.
Sad it may sound, many in power in the country failed to appreciate his services, for it received much coverage in the media, reflecting all the negative sides of a conflict as civil-war intensified. For non Christians like me of other faiths, who lived through and survived the civil-war years in the war ravaged north, and witnessed his services to mankind at a time of need not surprisingly, have felt otherwise; perhaps in another country he would have received the Nobel Peace Prize!