“Already one of the bloodiest years for Christians”

The papal foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has voiced concern in the face of increasing attacks on Christians all over the world. “As the brutal bombings perpetrated against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday show, 2019 is already one of the bloodiest years for Christians,” declared the executive president of ACN, Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern.

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Photo: (Left) Card. Mauro Piacenza, ACN International President, (Right) Thomas Heine-Geldern, ACN Executive President.

The charity, which brings aid to poor and persecuted Christians in more than 140 countries, has become aware of and reported among others on the following anti-religious attacks in the first four months of the year alone:

  • attacks by Islamist Séléka militia on a catholic mission station in Bangassou Diocese in the Central African Republic in which dozens were killed and around 20,000 people fled the violence at the first of January;
  • the Islamist attack on the cathedral of Jolo in the southern Philippines which killed 20 people and injured around 90 at the end of January;
  • attacks by members of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen tribe on Christian villagers in the Nigerian state of Kaduna in mid-March that left more than 130 dead; and,
  • attacks by extremist Hindu nationalists on a Catholic school in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu at the end of March, in which the nuns who worked there were categorically hunted down.

 "There is no way to peace, peace is the way."

Interview, 29.04.2019 with Fr. Malaka Leonard Fernando (Sri Lanka) conducted by Maria Lozano

Fr. Malaka Leonard Fernando is the Minister Provincial of the Vice Province of our Lady of Lanka, Sri Lanka, of the Third Order Regular Franciscans. His residence is just half a kilometer from Katuwapitiya, where St. Sebastian’s Church was bombed. The Congregation also has a Friary just in front of St. Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitiya. Fortunately none of the friars were injured.

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Inside St. Sebastian’s Church after the explosions. Image Credit: Roshan and Pradeep and T Sunil: Copyright Aid to the Church in Need. 

Funeral Services for Victims of the Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka

Funeral services for the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks took place on 23rd of April at St. Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitiya, Negombo. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, presided over a funeral service for a group of victims at 10.00am at the church premises.

The coffins were brought to the premises one at a time for the services amidst intense security. Funeral services and the burials took place in an atmosphere of heavy grief and sorrow with relatives and friends weeping and mourning for the unexpected loss of their loved ones. His Eminence offered a message of consolation to the faithful gathered and invited the faithful to not give into violent retaliation. Meanwhile, the death toll of the series of explosions has risen up to 359.

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Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith offered a message of consolation to the faithful gathered and invited the faithful to not give into violent retaliation. Credit to photographers: Roshan Pradeep & T Sunil.
Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Support for the Church in Sri Lanka after Easter Attacks 2019

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Now is the time for us to stand in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters. For too long the world has widely ignored the persecution of Christians, with much of the media playing ignorant to this global issue.

The horror of the suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning has ricocheted across the globe, this is the only positive to come from such tragedy - the world is now waking up to Christian persecution.

Easter Morning Suicide Bombings of Churches, Hotels in Sri Lanka Kill 290

by Joop Koopman - 22.04.2019

IN SRI LANKA, suicide bombers hit three churches and hotels in coordinated, near simultaneous attacks Easter morning that left 290 people dead, while wounding an estimated 500 more.

The series of bombings began at approximately 8.45AM in the capital of Colombo with an explosion at St. Anthony Shrine, a historic church designated as the country’s national shrine. It is the country’s best-known Catholic church. Within about 45 minutes, a second Catholic church was hit, St. Sebastian’s, in Negomba, some 20 miles up the country’s western coast from Colombo. Subsequently, a bomb exploded at the Protestant Zion Church in Batticaloa, on the eastern coast.

During the same time period, there were explosions at three upscale hotels in Colombo that are popular with Westerners. There are several dozen foreigners among the dead. There are reports of two additional explosions in Colombo.

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Image from St Sebastian's Church, Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Sri Lanka Facebook Page posted on Sunday 21st April, 1.25pm.

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