Praying With Our Sri Lankan Family
Solidarity with Sri Lanka
23 April • Rome, Italy
On Easter Sunday, in the tiny village of Kulakattu, Northern Sri Lanka, the Pallottine parish of Christ the King woke up to the news of bombings before most of the world rose. Its tremors reverberated around the globe, and our Roman Pallottines were united in prayer as Pope Francis made a special appeal from the loggia of St. Peter’s during his Urbi et Orbi blessing.
“I want to express my loving closeness to the [Sri Lankan] Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence… I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event.”
What authorities know is that bombs erupted across three prominent Churches in the capital city of Colombo, carried out by two terror organizations, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim. The government acknowledged that 10 days prior to the attack, it received warning but failed to take it seriously. Colombo’s Archbishop, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, voiced public criticism over the government’s grave error in lack of security and warning. At present, over 300 have died, more than 500 are injured, and an entire population is in mourning.
For Catholics, Sri Lanka is a periphery of faith; just 6.1% of the Sri Lankan population is Catholic, with the majority of its citizens being 70% Theravada Buddhists. As Pallottines, we have only just planted the seed of our spirit, arriving to the island nation off India’s southeast coast February 2, 2018. Strategically positioned as a sea channel in the Indian Ocean, the mission was taken up by our Bangalore Province (India), sending missionary Fr. John Paul Raj SAC to guide its new pastoral works.
As the country holds its first mass funeral today, may we remember all of the innocent victims of faith and their families. So, too, let us hold close in prayer our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent, encouraging them with the words of our holy Founder:
“I can tell you from my heart that God is with you.”