Church attacked on Easter Sunday re-consecrated
Vatican News and ACN. A Sri Lankan church was re-consecrated on Sunday, three months after it was badly damaged in a string of suicide bombings on Easter Sunday. Source: Vatican News and ACN.
During the re-consecration ceremony that included Mass, St Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, north of Colombo, unveiled a stone monument inscribed with the names of 114 people who were killed in the April 21 attack.
The coordinated attacks on three churches and four upmarket hotels by a group said to have links with the so-called Islamic State (IS), killed 259 people and injured some 500.
Two of the churches were Catholic churches – St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo. Another blast, at the Evangelical Zion Church in the eastern coastal city of Batticaloa, also claimed numerous lives.
Most of the casualties were at St Sebastian’s Church.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, celebrated the Mass and the re-consecration service with a large number of people, including the victims’ families, in attendance.
Cardinal Ranjith questioned the ongoing probe into the blasts and said he feared that the investigation “will be brushed under the carpet”.
The 71-year-old cardinal has criticised the government for alleged culpability in the Easter Sunday bombings that he maintains could have been prevented.
“The current leaders have failed. They have no backbone. They must leave the government and go home and allow someone else to govern the country,” the cardinal said.
Aid to the Church in Need’s head of projects in Asia Veronique Vogel recently visited Sri Lanka and spoke of palpable tensions throughout the country, recurring unrest, and fear.
“Everyone is well aware of the fact that more assassins were involved on Easter Sunday than were identified and arrested. Therefore, everyone knows that somewhere out there extremely dangerous people are running around who could attack again at any time.”
Over a period of just a few days, the small ACN delegation visited the regions around Colombo and Negombo.
“This trip was arranged so that we could see for ourselves the state of the Catholic parishes and to assure them of our solidarity. After all, the terrorist attacks were specifically targeted at Christians,” Ms. Vogel said.