Young Sri Lankans on the day of prayer, fasting and charity
by Melani Manel Perera

For some young Catholics, heeding Pope Francis' invitation was “a great joy and a duty”. The country’s dioceses did not adequately publicise the event, but it still found an echo up on social media and TV. One young person, spent the day with family, “praying and donated food to some people in need.”


Colombo (AsiaNews) - Young people in different parts of Sri Lanka were happy to spend the day of 14 May performing the three actions Pope Francis suggested, namely praying, fasting, and carrying out works of charity. For them, "responding to the call of the Holy Father was a great joy and a duty".

Two days ago, people around the world spent the day asking God for the end of the pandemic. The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity had proposed the event, which received the full support of Pope Francis.

In Sri Lanka, many young people were surprised that the country’s dioceses had not publicised the event as a priority. Instead, they found out about it on television and social media.

Kamal Fernando, from Colombo, works in the private sector. He learnt about the day through social and foreign media. This gave him a chance of getting involved with this "wonderful intention and request by the Holy Father” to meet a “global need.”

“This pandemic situation is very tough,” Kamal said. “No one can predict what will happen the next hour. This is a time of fear in which we can only hope in God’s help and that of our blessed Mother.”

Anushiya Kandasami, from Kandy, heard about the day from Verbum TV, a local Sinhala-language channel, that mentioned the Pope's call to unite in prayer to heal the world affected by the pandemic.

"Since the start of the lockdown, in our family we pray for the end of the pandemic,” she said. “We warmly welcomed the Pope's invitation, dedicating the whole day to prayers.

“At home we have a corner for praying with an oil lamp, candles, and the Bible. We asked Jesus and Mary non-stop: 'Do not leave us in these dark hours, save our nation and the whole world’.”

Naamini Rasika, a university student, found out about the day on Facebook. "A priest, Fr Sunil, posted a message with some words by Pope Francis. So, with my family I spent the day praying and donated food to some people in need.”