Tewatte: Rosary for 'truth and justice' about the Easter Sunday massacres
by Melani Manel Perera

The silent and peaceful protest continues in order to shed light on the attacks of 21 April 2019. Prayers are recited in Sinhalese, Tamil and English. Intentions call for the clergy to have the “strength and courage” to continue to support the struggle of His people. A “cry of pain” comes from Card Ranjith against an act of “senseless violence.”

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Over the weekend, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Colombo, led and supported by Card Malcolm Ranjith, recited the Rosary to ask for “the intercession of the Virgin Mary” to get “truth and justice” for the victims of the Easter Sunday massacre of 2019.

On Sunday evening, clergy and religious gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, Tewatte, for this purpose as part of initiatives related to Black Sunday remembrance.

Church leaders led the silent and peaceful protest followed by the faithful in order to highlight the inefficiencies and cover-ups that have so far prevented the punishment of the real culprits.

As the Sri Lankan prelate pointed out, the key date for Catholics is 21 April, the second anniversary of the massacre. If justice is not done, they warn, “we will go ahead with protest Masses across the whole country.”

Recently, Card Ranjith urged Catholics in the country to recite the Rosary at home and in church, at the end of Sunday services.

The prelate led the prayer in the Tewatte basilica, broadcast live by TV Verbum, a Catholic broadcaster, in three different languages.

The celebration began at 7 pm with a torchlight march, followed by the procession attended by priests, men and women religious of the archdiocese. This was followed by hymns and chants asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

Before each decade of the Rosary, the celebrant mentioned the special intention of prayer: for the country’s leaders, that they may pursue the truth and justice and ensure the nation’s security; for Card Ranjith and the members of the Bishops’ Conference, priests and religious, that they may have the strength and courage to stand by the people in this struggle for justice; for the victims of the attacks, that the Lord may grant them eternal rest, and offer consolation to their families and friends; and a special invocation in Sinhalese, Tamil and English, that light may be shed on the authors and sponsors of the Easter Sunday massacres.

In his address, Card Ranjith invoked the Lord asking him to heed “the cry of pain” that rises from his people and “do justice to his flock” for what he calls an act of “senseless violence.” For him, “how is it possible that someone can commit such atrocities in your name?”

The prelate went on to urge God to “take the pain” of a people who want to “go back to feeling love”, who need the “courage and strength” to continue on this journey “in search for justice”.

The Archbishop of Colombo made no secret of the “huge difficulties” that have emerged in the past two years of seeking the truth about the attacks, which remain “shrouded in darkness”.

“The facts were not investigated properly. Selfish politicians and sectarian considerations seem to have cooled every effort” but “nothing is impossible to you, O’ Lord,” from whom “we ask justice.” Hostile “forces or challenges do not matter” for “we move forward together until justice is done.”

Finally, the cardinal urged priests and religious to remain united and firm in this struggle, which is a response to the demands of all a people. “We are not afraid,” he said. “We remain united in this spiritual prayer to our Lord, the Lord of justice, the Lord of love, that we may fulfil our mission and he may help us in this.” If justice is not done by 21 April, “we will continue our protest with renewed vigour throughout the country.”