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    » 09/29/2007, 00.00


    Over 10 thousand people attend the funeral of an assassinated priest

    Fr. Packiyaranjith died September 26 after a bomb, perhaps a mine, hit the car he was driving to bring aid to refugees and orphans. A priest dedicated to helping refugees in a country wracked by years of war. The final farewell of his bishop and the archbishop of Colombo.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) –This morning in Mannar’s St. Sebastian Cathedral the funeral was held of Fr. Nicholaspilai Packiyaranjith, killed by an explosives attack on September 26th.  The solemn ceremony was presided over by Msgr. Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar, and concelebrated by the bishop of Anuradhapura Msgr. Norbert Andrade, the Sri Lanka Jesuit provincial Fr. Maria Antony, together with other religious and civil authorities, 120 priests 100 religious sisters and 10 thousand faithful.  Also present, representatives of international aid organisations.

    From the Church the biggest procession Mannar has ever seen poured forth, with over 100 cars and 200 horse drawn carts following behind the hearse, accompanying it through to the cemetery.   In a sign of respect, all of the shops in Mannar remained closed.

    Msgr Rayappu vehemently condemned the brutal murder of a priest who dedicated his life to helping the poor and marginalised, recalling that “enough blood has flown on this little island nation.  This blood cries for peace and not for vengeance. Therefore, we call on the International Community and all men and women of goodwill to condemn this killing and effectively voice their strong condemnation of the ongoing senseless war. We plead with the warring parties to bring to an end this war that had been mercilessly left to go on unabated for the last quarter of a century”.

    Padre Packiyaranjith, 40, a native of Jaffna and a priest for 10 years was working as the coordinator of JRS in the District of Mannar, Sri Lanka, was hit late in the evening as he travelled from Pooneryn to Kalvi’laan (Kilinochchi), carrying food and aid to the refugee camps and orphanages Vidathalvu. The driver with him was also seriously injured.  No on has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, while army sources and rebels accuse each other.

    All involved remember him as a dedicated priest who brought spiritual and material aid to the refugees.

    Msgr. Oswald Gomes, Archbishop of Colombo, said he was “profoundly moved by the tragic death”, and remembered “with gratitude” his tireless service to the people, inviting all of the faithful to pray “that this incident will stir the peace process, so that he who has died, may not have died in vain”. 


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    See also

    05/12/2009 SRI LANKA
    Mons. Ranjith launches a Christmas collection for children affected by war
    Promoted by Msgr. Malcolm Ranjith to support the work of Caritas - Sedec in the Diocese of Mannar. The donations are intended to build a reception centre for children of Adampan in Manthai West division, and to help homeless refugees. Also for scholarships for orphans, children of soldiers disabled by war.

    09/12/2008 SRI LANKA
    Caritas Sri Lanka: tsunami aid, and a 40-year history
    The charitable organization of the Catholic Church has assisted almost 60,000 people struck by the tsunami. An example of the efforts of Caritas, which for 40 years has been working in favor of the population of the island, without distinction of caste or religion.

    29/01/2010 INDIA - SRI LANKA
    Indian Jesuit calls on Rajapaksa and New Delhi to resolve the plight of Tamil people
    The priest calls for a "political solution" to the problem of the displaced in northern Sri Lanka. To achieve and maintain the agreement commitment of Indian Government required. Tamil Refugees: Rajapaksa has fuelled "mistrust, divisions and suspicions."

    19/01/2008 PHILIPPINES
    The pope's condolences for the death of the missionary killed in Mindanao
    He is remembered as "an example to priests and people throughout the region, and especially to the young”. The pope asks the killers to "renounce the ways of violence" and to work for a "just and peaceful society". How his bishop remembers him. Meanwhile, no new developments in the police investigation.

    17/12/2007 SRI LANKA
    Buddhist, Muslim and Catholic orphans united at Christmas
    In an orphanage in the diocese of Chilaw, run by the Sisters of Perpetual Succour, children of all faiths celebrate the arrival of Christmas with an evening of prayer and song. The young tell of their “joy” at participating in the event and of “finally feeling loved and no longer alone”.

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