Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Despite ongoing threats, ordination Mass takes place in Sri Lanka

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
5/1/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

As most Catholic churches remain closed across Sri Lanka, following the Easter bombings that claimed more than 250 lives, one parish in a small eastern village celebrated the ordination of a new priest on Tuesday.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/1/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: ongoing threats, ordination Mass, Sri Lanka


Thannamunai, Sri Lanka, (CNA) - Father Norton Johnson told the Associated Press that it is likely the first public Mass held in the country since eight suicide bombers attacked two Catholic churches, a protestant church, three hotels, a residence, and a zoo on April 21.

All public Masses have been cancelled since the Easter Sunday attacks, with authorities continuing to search for those behind organizing the violence.

However, invitations for the priestly ordination in the village of Thannamunai had already been issued, so the Mass went ahead as planned, with increased security measures. Instead of a few thousand participants, several hundred attended.

"People wanted to celebrate Mass, they wanted to participate in this, but they '" even myself '" were afraid," Johnson told the AP. "However, security personnel gave us good protection."

The Mass comes at a time when the police have advised caution over potential future attacks, government officials have increased restrictions, and Catholic leaders have temporarily closed churches. A televised Mass was held in the private residential chapel of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, last Sunday.

More than 300 troops worked to secure Tuesday's ordination Mass in Thannamunai, checking passing cars, reviewing the church's perimeter, and patting down attendees. The parish also established vigilance committees, which helped review people's IDs.

According to the AP, authorities had urged extra vigilance, as the church is located on the edge of a Muslim community, near where Zahran Hashim '" believed to be one of the masterminds and suicide bombers behind the Easter attacks '" had preached calls for jihad.

Johnson said fear is seen among both Christians and Muslims communities, and stressed that there needs to be unity.

"In every religion, every race, there are extremists. They do certain things. But we can't blame one community for these problems," he told the AP. "The Muslim community, they are afraid, and they are sorry about this incident. And what I can say is we are with them."

Hashim was a leader of the militant jihadist group the National Thowheed Jamaath, which is believed to have organized the attacks on Easter. The government banned the NTJ on Saturday, allowing authorities to confiscate its property and assets. The government also issued an emergency law restricting face-covering veils.

Although the involvement of the Islamic State is not confirmed, images were released shortly after the attack of the alleged bombers declaring loyalty to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

A video was released on April 29 by Al-Baghdadi, only the second televised appearance of the leader to be released since he declared the creation of a caliphate in 2014. In the video, the leader praised the attack in Sri Lanka, claiming it to be revenge for the defeat of ISIS in the Syrian town of Baghouz.

With more than 100 people already arrested, police are looking for some 150 additional people believed to have ties to ISIS, according to the BBC.


Comments


More Middle East

Syrian Christians face new threat from Turkey, human rights group warns Watch

Image of

Endangered Christian populations in the Middle East face renewed risks as the United States removes troops from Syria, a leading human ... continue reading


How a Palestinian village sheds light on the drama of Christians in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

Jifna is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, just 5 miles north of Ramallah - the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority - and ... continue reading



Pompeo meets pope to discuss religious freedom, Middle East Christians Watch

Image of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pope Francis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the preservation of Christian communities in the Middle East and the ... continue reading


Moroccan woman sentenced for procuring abortion Watch

Image of Moroccan security forces stand guard as a van leaves the court

A Moroccan journalist, her fiance, and a doctor were sentenced to prison Monday for procuring and performing an abortion. The country's ... continue reading


Pakistani archbishop warns of surge in Christian girls kidnapped, forced into marriages Watch

Image of Pakistan girl

A Catholic bishop in Pakistan has warned of an increase in young Christian and Hindu girls being kidnapped, then forced to convert to Islam ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.