Teacher complains to Pope Francis for justice

by Steve A. Morrell

Harold Fernando, a teacher formerly employed at De Mazenod College, Kandana, a school managed by the Brothers of the Order of De La Salle, has, in an appeal channeled to Pope Francis during his visit last week, complained that he was "unjustly dismissed from the school".

He has referred his appeal to the Pontiff through Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka.

Fernando has outlined the antecedents stemming from his dismissal, which he says resulted in the school refusing to pay his pension benefits. He has sought redress through the intervention of the Holy See.

His letter explains events that led to his dismissal in 1970, which he said was unjustified. He had represented his case through legal channels, and awarded back wages. He, however, was not reinstated by the school at that time.

His complaint was that a senior official in charge of Catholic schools had intervened obstructing realization of his pension rights.

He complained to the Education Department, which had convened discussions and brought to bear their decision that his pension rights be restored. His former employers had disregarded these instructions and continued to block his dues, Fernando alleged.

He said that he had complained to Pope John Paul II too, on his visit to Sri Lanka some 25 years ago, but had not received any just solution to his complaint.

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