10/08/2007, 00.00
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Some 6,000 people recite the rosary for peace in Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
On the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, a great procession takes in Colombo; participants call on Our Lady to bring peace to the country. Many of those devoted to Mary, whether Sinhalese or Tamil, attend including some Hindus.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Some 6,000 people, children, adults, the elderly and the sick took part yesterday in a procession and rosary dedicated to peace in Sri Lanka. The feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) gave Sri Lanka’s Catholic community an opportunity to pray to Mary that She may bring an end to the ethnic conflict that has torn the country apart for more than 20 years.

The procession began yesterday afternoon after a mass was celebrated in Sinhala, Tamil and English at the All Saints’ Parish Church. The event ended after 5 hours with a blessing by Mgr Oswald Gomis, archbishop of Colombo.

The theme of the rosary was “Mary, Pray for Peace in Our Country.” Fr Saman Maximus, the chief organiser of the event, told AsiaNews that the goal was to “give our full respect to our Blessed Mother Mary; show her our gratitude. . . .  Only by praying and doing nothing else can we hope to obtain peace.”

Fr Placidus de Silva, rector of the St Thomas Aquinas College, said that “for the past 24 years we have called on our faithful to pray every day and recite the rosary for peace in our country, families and institutions.”

In his address to the faithful, the priest told worshippers “not only to ask Mary to fulfill their prayers but also to listen through Her to what the Lord is telling us.” 

Pauline Francinal, a 53-year-old Tamil woman, was in the crowd that came for the great rosary. She talked to AsiaNews about her great devotion to Our Lady.

“My beloved husband cannot walk and is in the hospital for treatment. I am not doing so well myself. But today I am here for him, who, despite being Hindu, has great faith in Mary.”

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