04/14/2020, 15.37
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Attacks anniversary: 'They wanted to destroy us, we didn't seek revenge,' says Card Ranjith

by Melani Manel Perera

The Archbishop of Colombo led Easter Mass without worshippers, streamed live, urging the faithful to bear witness to the resurrection of Christ through a new life, as “an instrument of transformation of society.” About 218 people have tested positive so far for the COVID-19 virus.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Despite the coronavirus outbreak the country is struggling to cope with, no one in Sri Lanka has forgotten last year’s Easter Sunday attacks, on 21 April, which left at least 279 people dead and almost 600 wounded from blasts in three churches, two Catholic and one Protestant, and three hotels.

“Even though they wanted to destroy us, we didn't seek revenge. We loved them,” said Card Malcom Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, during the Mass on Easter Sunday.

Due to the safety measures taken to control the pandemic, the service was held without people, but was streamed live. The cardinal’s two auxiliary bishops, J. D. Anthony and S. Maxwell, took part in the celebration.

“We forgave them,” said Card Ranjith. “We could have taken a worldly and human decision and reacted against them, but we did not do so”. Instead, “we responded with the Good News of Risen Lord, and forgave them.”

One year later, it is still unclear who was behind the attacks. The then president Maithripala Sirisena first blamed Islamic extremists, then international drug traffickers, supposedly trying to undermine his anti-narcotics drive.

At the time, Card Ranjith had called on the entire Sri Lankan cabinet to resign, given its failure to investigate an "international conspiracy” behind the attacks.

The prelate called on Catholics to bear witness to Jesus’s resurrection. “Let us try to show that we are not worldly, earthly beings. We have something that is noble inside each of us, whatever our religion, culture or language. Everyone has something to contribute to humanity.”

“No one should think only about themselves. This is about the resurrection, the new existence. As for a second chance, let us give quality to our lives by following what the Lord says, and become an instrument of transformation of society.”

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry has reported 218 coronavirus cases so far with no deaths and at least 59 people completely recovered.

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