Wattala parish falls within the Archdiocese of Colombo. Youth perform a play centred on ‘Safe Migration’. The country hosts some 1,700 refugees, mostly Muslims.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Caritas Sri Lanka-Sedec[i] held a Mass to remember migrants living in Sri Lanka. The service was celebrated on Sunday, World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in St Anne’s Church in Wattala, about 10 km north of Colombo.
Caritas Sri Lanka national director Fr Mahendra Gunatilleke led the Mass together with Caritas Colombo director Fr Lawrence Ramanayake, and Fr Sanjeewa Mendis, pastor in Wattala. Some 300 worshippers and volunteers from the Catholic charity attended the service.
Sri Lanka is host to about 1,700 refugees, mostly Ahmadi Muslims. According to official UN figures, 862 are refugees and 829 are asylum seekers: 1,362 come from Bangladesh, Eritrea, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
People forced out of their homes as a result of the Easter Sunday attacks (21 April) are also considered displaced people. Most of them come from the Negombo area, where they lived in rented houses whose owners terminated their lease after the attacks.
A play with music was performed before the liturgical service with parish youth staging a show about ‘Safe Migrations’.
At the end of the Mass, participants gathered to march in support of refugees.
(Photo credit: Caritas Facebook Sri Lanka-Sedec)
[i] The name of Sri Lanka’s Caritas.