This unique and magnificent church is the first and the only church dedicated to St. John Biotteconi or popularly known as John Dal Bastone hailing from Paterno,in the district of Fabriano, Italy was a Sylvestro Benedictine monk who lived in the 13th century and was canonized on August 29, 1772.

The foundation stone for the Thalangama church was laid on October 27, 1872, which year happened to mark the centenary year of the canonization of Saint. In 1881, the church building was completed and Sylvestro Benedictine monks looked after the mission and later it was administered from several parishes.

In 1972, the Franciscan Friars were entrusted with the mission and to date they serve the spiritual needs of the faithful. Today, St. John Dal Bastone Church standing high as a pillar of faith of Thalangama people, marked the 125 year in 2006. The Parish is administered by Rev. Fr. Sanjeewa Mendis under the Colombo Archdiocese since October 2012.

* * * OUR HISTORY IN BRIEF * * *

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St. John Dal Bastone…

John Botteconi nicknamed the staff (Dal Bastone) was born on 1200 March 24 in Paterno, Fabriano. His father Bonello and mother Superla had five children and John was the youngest. During his childhood John grew physically and spiritually and progressed in virtue.

As a boy John was keen and capable of learning. Because of John’s constancy in his studies his parents sent him to Bologna to study humanities. There he preferred more to care for his soul than for the studies of humanities. He did not absent himself from the religious instructions that were imparted in the churches of the religious Orders of the diocese.

However he applied himself to the study of humanities and soon became sufficiently instructed. Whilst wrestling in prayer, many things ran counter to purity thus caused him to be concerned with. God answered his prayer by afflicting him with a purulent sore on one side of his thigh.

With this sore God inspired John to look for what was better and more necessary for his soul. Journeying back home, he rode on the back of a donkey, which made his thigh weaker as to render John lame for the rest of his life. This forced him to walk only with the help of a staff for this he was nicknamed ‘John of the staff’ (Dal Bastone).

Attracted by the fame of the sanctity of the venerable Sylvester Guzzolini, John went to meet him hoping to receive into the Order. Rejoicing at this holy intention Fr.Sylvester tested him while for a while and finally received him. John confined himself to fast and pray and to read spiritual books.He followed closely his spiritual father that he sooner began to observe the monastic way of life.

Seeing that John had made progress in his holy profession, his spiritual father caused him to be promoted to priesthood. However, his whole body was full of ills that gave him great pains and made him continually suffer.

He placed himself in great and distressing poverty and did not want to keep with him anything beyond his need and without permission from his spiritual father. He was a sound advisor with natural qualities and was strong with grace before God and man. Therefore his fellow monks confidently sought his advice in their difficulties and doubts,

All this and especially following command of his superior, John began to preach the word of God. After the death of his spiritual father Sylvester on November 26, 1267, John became more firm in his holy intent.

In imitation and collaboration with his spiritual father, John began to perform many miracles. Meanwhile, John’s sore became worse and he was brought to Fabriano for treatment. On the vigil of the Lord’s incarnation, on March 24, 1290 Lord took him to heaven. His body was laid in the church of St. Benedict.

After his death his soul miraculously appeared to three of his brethren. Various miracles of St. John grew in number. These miracles were recorded by public notaries and verified by a commission appointed by the Bishop. With the passage of years Holy Mother Church set the seal of approval on his heroic life and virtues.

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