The diocesan territory covers a land area of 4,948.2 square kilometers. It includes Ratnapura and Kegalle districts of Sri Lanka.
The population of the diocese is 1,787,938 (the population of the whole country 18,732,000), Most residents are Sinhalese, estimated 1,266,091. 86.42% of them are Buddhists and 9.88% Hindus.
The Sinhala and Tamil languages are in use.
The history of Catholics in Ratnapura begins with Portuguese rule in Ratnapura in 17th century and very few catholics. Many of them were the descendents of Portuguese and locals that they married. Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, had visited the place where now Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral is located when he came to Ratnapura as part of his apostolic mission.
The diocese of Ratnapura is dedicated to the immaculate Heart of Mary
Ratnapura diocese is adjacent to Kurunegalla in the north, Badulla in the east, Colombo in the west and Galle in the south.
The Diocese of Ratnapura was established as an autonomous Diocese on the 2nd November 1995 by Pope John Paul II, (now St John Paul II). It was carved out of the Diocese of Galle. Rt Rev Mgr. Albert Malcolm Ranjith, (now Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo) was appointed as its first Bishop and was installed on the 5th January 1996.
The Diocese of Ratnapura covers the entire Province of Sabaragamuwa, which comprises two administrative districts, namely Ratnapura and Kegalle. The capital city of the Province is Ratnapura. Rt Rev Mgr. Malcolm Ranjith served the Diocese as its Local Ordinary from the 5th January 1996 to the 01st October 2001. Under his pastoral leadership the Diocese, though confronted with many challenges almost in every sphere, progressed to a high degree. Mgr. Malcolm Ranjith was transferred to Propaganda Fide in Rome on the 1st October 2001, entrusted with a higher responsibility.
The See of Ratnapura thus remained vacant for 1 year and 5 months, until Rt Rev Mgr Harold Anthony Perera was appointed as its Bishop and installed on the 18th March 2003. He worked enthusiastically during his two-year Episcopate to improve the spiritual and pastoral life of the people. He was transferred to the vacant See of Galle on the 18th March 2005. Once again the See of Ratnapura fell vacant and remained so for 2 years and 4 months, until the present incumbent, Mgr. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera OSB was appointed as its Bishop. He was consecrated in Rome on the 11th July 2007 and was installed on the 28th July 2007 as the Bishop of Ratnapura.
There are 21,855 baptized Catholics, of all 1,787,938 people in the territory. Ratnapura has 22 parishes with 27 resident priests.
Ratnapura diocese is located in the south-western part of Sri Lanka, the so-called wet zone.The diocese receives rainfall mainly from south-western monsoons during May to September. The average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius, and there are high humidity levels.
Ratnapura is called "City of Gems".The city is located about 100 kilometers south-west of Colombo, it is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires and other gems.
Most of the people depend on the gem trade. Gem pits are a common sight in the area. Most of the large-scale gem businessmen of Sri Lanka operate from Ratnapura. Precious stones, rubies, sapphires and various kinds of gemstones are available here.
Agro based industries like tea rubber coco are here. Large plantations of tea and rubber surround the town. Tea grown in this region is called low-country tea.
Sinharaja rain forest, Uda Walawe National Park, covers a large area in the region.
Bopath waterfall and Rajana waterfall beautify the area and there are many places of worship in and around this area such as Maha Saman Devala (Buddhist), St.Luke (Church of England), Siva Temple (Hindu) and Jumma Mosque (Islam).
Ratnapura is situated in the flooding plain of the river Kalu and the town experiences regular floods usually in the month of May. There is no large dam across the Kalu. In May 2003, the town experienced the largest flood since the independence of Sri Lanka from Britain in 1947.
Bishop Cletus Chandrasiri Perera O.S.B.
Diocese of Ratnapura Sri Lanka.