23 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/27/2009 13:28
SRI LANKA
Father Sarathjeevan dies on the last day of fighting among refugees in the No Fire Zone
by Melani Manel Perera
The 41-year-old Tamil priest was one of seven clergymen who stayed till the end with refugees trapped in the war zone. His friend and educator Father Manuelpillai remembers him. He spent his last days in a bunker, concerned that he could say Mass.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Fr Manuelpillai T. Sarathjeevan, 41, stayed with his people in the No Fire Zone till the end. He died on 18 May, the last day of fighting between the military and the Tamil Tigers, struck by a heart attack as he left the combat zone with the last refugees after it had come under complete army control.

A Tamil, Fr Sarathjeevan was a parish priest in Kilinochchi, and coordinator for the Jesuit Rehabilitation Service in Jaffna. He was one of seven priests who stayed with the people caught in Nanthi Kadal Lagoon along the coast, trapped during the last phase of the war.

He had been with the civilian population since the start of the army operation in Vanni. He died on the road, exhausted by months of deprivations and lack of everything under airstrikes and shelling.

The attempt to save him by taking him to the hospital in Vavuniya was to no avail. The city itself is crowded with a majority of the 280,000 refugees created by the war. From there his body was taken to Colombo before a plane could take to Jaffna for his funeral. However, after days of waiting Mgr Thomas Savundaranayagam, bishop of this northern city, decided to go ahead with the final service.

Yesterday colleagues of the priest, sisters and men religious from Jaffna, as well as members of Caritas Sedec bid Father Sarathjeevan farewell, first in a private Mass in Tamil presided by Fr James Pathinathan, then in a moment of prayer led by Mgr Oswald Gomis, bishop of Colombo, accompanied by the three vicars of the capital, Fr Ivan Perera, Fr Marcus Ferdinandez and Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando.

Father Sarathjeevan’s body was cremated at the Borella General Cemetery in Colombo; his ashes will be buried in Jaffna later (funeral pictured).

At the end of the service, Carmelite Sister Teresa Ranee, read a letter in memory of Father Sarathjeevan written by his friend and educator, Fr David Manuelpillai.

“Following the footsteps of the Lord and master, Our Lord Jesus Christ, he said: ‘I will not leave my people.’ These words of determination and commitment from a person with six years of priesthood are exemplary”.

“In the last few days he was upset about not being able to celebrate Mass as he had to spend a few days in the bunker without food and drink,” Father Manuelpillai said. “Ultimately, when he was able to come out of the terrible circumstances, he could not bear to witness the agony of his people and his heart failed.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/21/2009 SRI LANKA
Army issues ultimatum to Tamil Tigers
12/14/2009 SRI LANKA
Young Tamils and Sinhalese meet for peace and reconciliation
by Melani Manel Perera
06/12/2009 SRI LANKA
Jaffna bishop tells government that refugees must go home as soon as possible
by Melani Manel Perera
01/02/2009 SRI LANKA
Army takes Tiger Tamil headquarters in Kilinochchi
by Melani Manel Perera
02/09/2009 SRI LANKA
Christians in the south pray for Tamil war victims
by Melani Manel Perera

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.