Around 55 yards from Pringantha Jayakody’s house, 150 people were killed by a suicide bomber.
His wife and son were attending Easter Mass at St. Sebastian Parish in Negombo, Sri Lanka during the terrorist attack.
“My neighbour said that he saw my son walking. He came out bleeding, with blood all over his clothes. However, he was walking. So I said thanks be to God. This is because I thought they were both safe. I thought my wife was also safe, maybe injured or something. I was waiting and waiting.”
The son’s wounds were minor, although they left a mark. As for his wife, at first he believed she could be among the wounded in the hospitals. However, it took days to accept her death and weeks to stop his tears. A month later is when he was able to tell his story and forgive the murderers.
“I am proud to be Catholic. That is definite. In my condition, still I can say that I am proud to be a Catholic. They dedicated their lives, those who passed, including my wife, they dedicated [their lives] to God, not something else.”
Fr. Shamir was one of the concelebrants for Mass on the day of the attack. He was at the altar when the explosion went off and he heard the screams of its victims.
Parish of St. Sebastian, Negombo (Sri Lanka)
“So this was a really terrible one, a very sad one. The faith of the people was not scattered, but it was really strengthened. We can see now people coming for big gatherings, for the services, for the Holy Mass, to receive Communion. I think there is a sort of increase in the number of the faithful attending and participating in the services.”
The terrorist’s bombs have destroyed lives and buildings, but have failed to destroy peoples faith.
This has been confirmed by the international office of ‘Aid to the Church in Need’, which has visited Sri Lanka to offer them the support and solidarity of the whole Church. According to the foundation, the first response was rapid. However, now long-term projects are urgently needed to strengthen the Christian community, so that it can recover from this tragedy.