Latin Catholics to offer special prayers for Sri Lanka

Archbishop Filipe Neri

By Matters India Reporter

Bengaluru, April 24, 2019: All the Latin rite dioceses in India will organize special prayers to show solidarity with the Church and people of Sri Lanka.

“To pledge our closeness and solidarity with the victims of the multiple bomb blasts that took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, I would like to propose that we observe coming Sunday, 28th April, 2019 – Divine Mercy Sunday — as a day of prayer and solidarity,” says an April 24 circular from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) addressed to all the Latin rite prelates in the country.

CCBI president Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman has suggested that all parishes during the Sunday Mass add “special prayers of the faithful for the departed souls, the injured and the affected families, who are plunged in grief and pain due to these senseless attacks.”

The prelate also urged the bishops to “spend some time in prayer before the Eucharistic Risen Lord, so that the country of Sri Lanka may experience healing and receive the gift of peace.”

He also suggests parishes and church institutions to organize a candle-light prayer or procession wherever possible to “draw the attention of our people to the gruesome tragedy occurred in our neighbouring country and to invite them to pray with us for peace and harmony throughout the world.”

The toll in a series of suicide bomb blasts on Easter Sunday targeting hotels and churches in Sri Lanka rose to 359 on April 24.

The additional deaths were the result of the wounded dying of their injuries, Sri Lankan police told reporters. At least 500 people were injured in the attacks.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the blasts, saying it was retaliation for the killing of Muslims in mosque in New Zealand. Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, left at least 50 people dead and dozens more injured on March 15.

Sri Lanka’s government has pointed the finger at the little-known local Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath, but adds the group likely had “international” help.

Overnight, Sri Lankan police carried out fresh raids, detained 18 more people in their hunt for those involved in the attacks.

Nearly 60 people have been detained since the Sunday blasts, which ripped through high-end hotels and churches packed with Easter worshippers in the capital Colombo and beyond.

It is the worst violence in the country since the end of a Tamil insurgency a decade ago.

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