Hundreds of thousands of Catholics throughout India dedicated on April 28, the feast of Divine Mercy, to pray for neighbouring Sri Lanka that was ravaged by serial blasts.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, the national body of the Latin Rite Church, had called for observing the feast with various programs to show solidarity with the victims of the blasts that killed 359 people and wounded more than 500 in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The Catholic Church observers the Sunday after Easter as the feast of Divine Mercy associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church.
Expressing solidarity with the Sri Lankan victims, Catholics of Arunachal Pradesh conducted special prayer service and candle light rallies in various parts of India’s north-eastern most region.
About 3,000 people, mostly survivors of 2008 anti-Christian violence, joined similar programs in the Kandhamal district of Odisha State in Eastern India.
At Our Lady of Charity Parish Church, Raikia, a major parish in Kandhamal, the survivors marched with lighted candles and sang hymns for the Sri Lankan victims. Catholics in Raikia were attacked twice in the past — 2004 and in 2008 — by Hindu extremists.
“How can we the victims of anti-Christian violence of 2008 fail to show our solidarity towards the victims of terrorists in Sri Lanka?” asked Anita Pradhan, a widow.
She said, she could understand the agony of family members of Sri Lankan victims since “I had felt totally blind after the brutal massacre of my husband by the Hindu Extremist in 2008.”