18 March 2018
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  • » 07/13/2017, 14.02


    Card Ranjith calls for prayers and fasting after dengue kills 225 people this year

    Melani Manel Perera

    The capital region is the most affected area. Mosquito breeding has been made worse by heavy rains. Colombo's archbishop called for “acts of fasting and penance in expiation for our weaknesses and sins."

    Colombo (AsiaNews) – Since the beginning of the year, dengue fever has killed at least 225 people in Sri Lanka. It is a real epidemic, the worst ever.

    The number of infections nationwide is already 38 per cent higher than last year, when more than 55,000 people were diagnosed with dengue and 97 died, this according to the Health Ministry. The capital region is the most affected area.

    In view of the situation, Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, called on Catholics in the Archdiocese to observe a week of prayer and fasting, 15-23 July. "Let's pray to the Blessed Mother," he said, "and all the saints, that they may intercede for us at this time of need."

    Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infectious disease. Last month's heavy rains left the cities waterlogged, with puddles and rain-soaked garbage providing ideal spots for mosquitoes to breed and multiply.

    This year's strain is particularly dangerous, said Dr Priscilla Samaraweera of the National Dengue Eradication Unit. There is no cure for any of the four strains of the virus, which causes a high fever, weeks of exhaustion and in some cases a vicious skin rash. Patients most at risk of dying are the elderly, children or those with other medical complications.

    The authorities are trying to find a solution. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena urged the public to co-operate with officials trying to fight the disease

    In Colombo alone, about 25 teams of soldiers, police officers and public health inspectors were deployed in searching dengue mosquito-breeding places and clearing process door to door and advising people to clear clogged drains and empty outdoor pots that might have filled with rainwater.

    In total, the government has deployed 400 soldiers and police officers to clear away rotting garbage, stagnant water pools and other possible mosquito-breeding grounds.

    Card Ranjith called on Catholics to hold a novena dedicated to Saint Sebastian, protector against the plague.

    "I recommend special prayers at the Holy Mass during the week,” he said, “and the possible celebration of a triduum on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 21-23 July, in al parishes, including an eventual procession and blessing of the statue with our Blessed Mother, Saint Sebastian, and all the other saints known for their powerful intercession in our illnesses."

    The prelate also called for “actions of special charity towards the needy, a campaign to eradicate possible mosquito breeding grounds, a clean-up of the surroundings, and acts of fasting and penance in expiation for our weaknesses and sins."

    He ended saying, "Let us storm Heaven with our prayers and acts of renunciation, so that the Good Lord may bless our country, save it from this epidemic and grant our people blessings and good health."

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    See also

    05/08/2010 SRI LANKA
    Archbishop of Colombo: help those affected by war and tsunami in the new Year of the Eucharist
    In a letter sent to all parishes, Mgr. Malcolm Ranjith announced that on August 29 a special Year of the Eucharist will begin in the Archdiocese of Colombo. The Archbishop invites everyone to visit the parishes of the north and east of the country, "to help them rebuild their churches and restore their original communities”.

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    Colombo's archbishop wrote a letter to the president of Sri Lanka saying that children are too busy with classes and can no longer run and play.

    02/12/2011 SRI LANKA
    Card Ranjith: read, study, pray, live, celebrate and share the Word of God
    The archbishop of Colombo presents the Year of the Word of God (27 November-10 October 2012), which “is the very foundation of committed Christian living.”

    05/12/2017 17:37:00 SRI LANKA
    Wewala celebrates 75 years of the Church of St Francis Xavier

    Card Malcolm Ranjith led the Mass. The archbishop of Colombo urges Catholics to "work for the liberation of others" and "to become the saviours of our brothers and sisters and to practice faith as true followers of Jesus".

    20/04/2016 16:06:00 SRI LANKA
    For Card Ranjith, despite evil’s temptations, God continues to generate vocations

    In his message to Sri Lanka’s Catholics on World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the archbishop of Colombo called for prayers and support for education so as to “encourage many more to follow” those already consecrated. For the Rector of the National Seminary, the vocation to the religious life “is a seed planted by God that germinates and grows in a human heart when there is a genuine and  positive response on the part of the recipient.”

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