Sri Lankan Survivors Will Meet Pope Francis in Rome Three Years After Easter Bombings

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Currents News Staff

On Easter Sunday 2019, a series of coordinated bombings in churches and hotels killed more than 260 people across Sri Lanka. The country’s minority Christian community was the primary target.

Three years after the Easter bombings, Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith will come to Rome to celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with survivors of the attacks and families of the victim, who will also meet the Pope. The Sri Lankan Catholic community in Rome is helping to coordinate the trip for those who, three years later, remain devastated by the attacks.

“We lost so many lives,” said Father Malith Thiwantha Kaluarachchi, a Sri Lankan priest in Rome, “and also the attacks left so many people injured, and up until now, there are some people who are bedridden without legs, limbs, and there are so many families that are suffering to date.”

The nine suicide bombers were identified as being linked to ISIS. Although 25 men are currently facing trial for the involvements in the attack, Fr. Malith says Sri Lankans are frustrated with the slow progress in bringing those responsible to justice, adding pressure to the government which is currently facing massive protests over the country’s severe economic crisis.

“We want to know,” Fr. Malith said, “The victims, they are demanding to know, who actually did this, who led this, who took the lives of our parents, our children, so that’s why, we are still waiting.”

By coming to Rome, Sri Lankan Catholics hope to send a message to minority Christian communities around the world to remain strong, and remember that they are not forgotten by the Church.

“To other churches in other countries who are suffering because of their faith, and those who are being persecuted, those who are going through difficulties, to say that our shepherd is feeling for us, to say that the Church is with us, that is a great evangelical message I guess,” Fr. Malith said.

With Pope Francis’ blessing, they will return home to advocate for justice for the communities devastated by the bombings, and on behalf of Christian minorities around the world.