On April 21, Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka’s Christian community experienced its worst instance of persecution in the country’s history. Suicide bombers, affiliated with ISIS, attacked three churches and three luxury hotels in coordinated attacks. As a result, more than 250 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded.
Six months later, many of the survivors are still picking up the pieces of their lives. A recent speech, Father Jude Raj Fernando, rector of St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, sought to explain the feelings held by many survivors.
“I had never heard a sound like that,” Fr. Fernando said at an Aid to the Church in Need event in Rome. “My first words after the blast were ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do.’”
Fr. Fernando went on to explain how members of his church continue to struggle with the Easter Bombings. “People at the parish are still asking, ‘Why did God allow this to happen to us?’,” he said. “A young child asked me ‘Why did God take my mother from me at church?’”
“We priests walk this difficult journey with our victims,” Fr. Fernando continued. “It is a long journey of faith.”
Fr. Fernando went on to ask for the world to continue to pray for Sri Lanka’s Christians. “Please continue to pray for us,” he said. “We can overcome evil with the love in our hearts. Our faith is stronger than their bombs.”
Date published: 04/11/2019
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