Cardinal Fernando Filoni supports grieving Sri Lanka

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Cardinal Fernando Filoni (left) walks with Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the head of Colombo Archdiocese

Cardinal Fernando Filoni supports grieving Sri Lanka

la-croix.com

A top Vatican official, Cardinal Filoni, has made an unheralded visit to Sri Lanka to show solidarity with Catholics following the Easter suicide bombings that claimed 253 lives and injured more than 400.During the visit, he called on all faiths to unite in rebuilding efforts, and declared bombed shrine a 'house of martyrs'.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said it was time to focus on rebuilding the nation, ucanews.com reported.

"What happened on Easter Sunday was not only an act against a few people or a religion, it was an act against the people of Sri Lanka," he said on May 22.

Cardinal Filoni flew to Colombo after a trip to Thailand to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Catholic Church's mission to Siam.

While visiting St. Anthony's Shrine at Kochchikade in Colombo, he spoke to some bereaved family members. "I am here to bring you all closer to Pope Francis," he told them.

The papal representative's itinerary included stops at all three major cities targeted by Islamic State-linked terrorists and meetings with priests and civil and religious personalities.

At St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, which suffered the heaviest casualties, he took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new cemetery chapel.

The cardinal also joined the laying of a foundation stone for a museum where relics of St. Anthony will be placed. The building will include a soup kitchen that will provide free meals to nearly 200 people of all faiths each day.

Cardinal Filoni said it is time for people of all faiths to work together to make Sri Lanka stronger and more united.
Referring to St. Anthony's Shrine, Cardinal Filoni said: "It was not only a shrine for Catholics but also for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. It is like a house for this big family of Sri Lanka.

"And we wish that this will remain in the future a home for all. A house without doors, without windows — open. It is open to everybody who would like to come here to find the open arms of Jesus, or the blessing of St. Anthony, and a moment of peace for their soul, their mind, their problems, their defeats."

The cardinal said the shrine in the heart of the capital would forever be seen as a house of martyrs. "We believe that those who passed away are martyrs of their faith."

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 12:23
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