12/22/2023, 17.52
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Card Ranjith urges Catholics to welcome the poorest to a meal at Christmas

by Melani Manel Perera

In his Christmas message, the Archbishop of Colombo reminds the faithful that Jesus was born with “no property” like many in Sri Lanka today. The prelate also renewed his call to President Wickremesinghe to hold an international investigation into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, released his Christmas message to the Catholic faithful today. In it, he urges Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble way due to the current difficult economic situation in the country.

“Catholics have gone through Advent and will spend Christmas amid difficulties due to Sri Lanka’s serious economic crisis,” the archbishop said.

“The cost of living today is very high. A family of four spends 120,000 rupees a month for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the average monthly wage is only 80,000 rupees."

The cardinal noted that Catholics are not alone in suffering; ordinary people from other religions are also experiencing a very hard time as the costs of water, electricity and gas are constantly increasing.

 “Many people who work in occupations such as doctors, accountants, and technicians have left the country, which is becoming further impoverished,” he lamented.

“Jesus was also born very poor,” the prelate reminded the Catholic community. “This shows once again that it is possible to live Christmas without unnecessary waste, especially so as not to disrespect those who are poorer than us.’

Indeed, “Christ also had no property. No wealth. He lived on the streets, preaching from place to place. In the end, he gave everything up, sacrificed everything, and died on the Cross for us."

The Archbishop of Colombo urged all Christians, not just Catholics, to "enjoy a meal at Christmas with the poor who live near your home. On Christmas Day, our parishes will offer lunch to those who cannot put it on the table."

Cardinal Ranjith ended his message addressing President Wickremesinghe. “We want the government to carry out a probe into the facts revealed by the investigation of Britain’s Channel 4 concerning the involvement of the authorities in the Easter massacre of 2019. We want any future investigation to be conducted under international monitoring."

Meanwhile, international agencies have reported that malnutrition is on the rise in Sri Lanka as a result of the economic crisis. In view of this, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka released its Christmas message focusing on the same theme. “Let our celebration of Christmas be marked by simplicity and extravagance,” reads the statement.

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