The History of the Colombo Catholic Press

The Colombo Catholic Company- a Lay Catholic enterprise; started a printing press in 1865 by Mr. Juan Fernando of Mutwal with the primary purpose of printing matter necessary for the administration work of the Catholic Church, mainly in the Colombo Diocese and also other Dioceses in the Island. In the 1866 this enterprise launched the Gnanartha Pradeepaya a news paper published in the sinhala language - the local language of majority sinhala people in the island.

In 1869 it printed and launched the1L Ceylon Catholic Messenger" a weekly paper in the English Language. The Press was equipped with a Letterpress which was the popular machine of the day for printing. In February 1870 the ownership and management of the Press was transferred to the Catholic Orphanages and took on the name " The Ceylon Catholic Orphan Press" where children and youth of the orphanages were being trained for working in presses and press related work while canning on the publications of the Two News Papers and other printing work of the press as above.

Since 1870 the ownership of the Press was transferred to the Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo and the management was done by the Catholic Orphanages. 1896 a further reorganization look place/ and the name was changed to St. Lucia's Press, KoLihena and come to be managed directly under the Archbishop of Colombo. The next shift took place and the press was reorganised and relocated in the Archbishop's House premises at Borella in 1901 where it remains to date with the name " The Colombo Catholic Press".

Each change of management was linked to improvements to the machinery and equipment and the development of the two papers it continuously published. Today these papers re two of the oldest news papers in this country which have been published without a break. In 1970ies in Sri Lanka ( earlier named Ceylon) saw many rapid developments in information Technology, electronic type setting use different Fonts, Colour printing and other imaginative skills and practices carne in to use..

At this period the Colombo Catholic Press had the following Machinery; Heidelberg Double Demi Pinler. A baby cyllinder machine, a Plate making Machine, Neblola Double Deni machine, a folding machine, casters and other acccessories. Beginning with the letter press the available machines aware an advancement but as yet due torn lack of sufficient funds to but the best and needed machine to cope with the work demand further equipment was needed and in 1985 a major restructuring and reorganization of the institution was took place in order to re-establish viability.

In 1985 despite the financial constrains a Heidelberg "KORD" grey colour offset machine was obtained and in 1986 anther two second hand Machines of the same type obtained. In 1992 an Electronic Type setting section was setup with Four Apple E IVlae Computers and scanning machine vastly improving the efficiency, capacity and viability. In August 2005 the pre^s commenced to print the Front Page of the Gnanartha Pradeepaya in Colour. In April 2007 the Font page of the "Messenger11 began to print in Colour. In addition to all these services Duplo Printing, colour scanning and colour duplo printing and laminating service are provided.

In December 2006 The Colombo Camolic Press was able to obtain a SORDZ two colour Machine. IN August 2007 The whole Type setting section was updated with Five I Mac 2,16 GHz machines , one G4 onachineand with UMAX Power Look 2100 XL CMYK Scanning method machine. On September T' 2008 Most Rev. Dr. Oswald Gomis declared opened the New Web Offset machine and the Screen Printing Machine. In March 2009 a book stitching machine, and perfect book binding were added to fleet of machines in the press.

Today the press continues to put out the two News papers the " Gnanartha Pradeepaya" in the Sinhala Language and " The Catholic Messenger" in the English Language as weekly news papers, while also printing material in the Three languages used in Sri Lank la- Sinhalese, Tamil and English , each of which have distinctly different script- for Catholic institutions and Apostolate. From the First week in October 2008 The Colombo Catholic Pressed commenced to print sixteen pages Children's paper named "Lama Pradeepaya".