Attack on Envoys in Sri Lanka Prompts Plea
Colombo Prelate Asks Prayers of Universal Church
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, FEB. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- After the U.S. and Italian ambassadors to Sri Lanka were slightly injured in a mortar attack by Tamil Tiger separatists, a local archbishop has asked the universal Church to pray for peace.
Vatican Radio reported the appeal by Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colomba today, following an attack which resulted in the diplomats being injured after their helicopters had landed in Batticaloa.
Archbishop Gomis said that "this was never the spirit of Sri Lanka. We were all living as brothers and sisters of one community if you look back 20 to 30 years; the friendship was so deep and so close."
Recently, a Lenten message from the Sri Lankan bishops' conference had invited the faithful to offer prayer for an end to armed conflict in the country.
AsiaNews reported that the bishops' message recalls that in Lent "we are entering a period of repentance and struggle against evil at a time when the whole country is embroiled in immense pain and is being afflicted in many ways."
The messages asks Christians to alleviate sufferings and do all that is possible to uproot hate, greed, mistrust, intolerance and injustices which cause our misery.
"What does the Lord require of you, but to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God," the bishops write.
The prelates invite the faithful to observe traditional acts of devotion, so that Lent may be "a time of profound conversion of heart and prayerful intercession to free our country from its conflict situation."
They add: "Let us also do everything in our power to foster the spirit of conversion and reconciliation in our neighborhoods. May the sacred wounds of Christ be a refuge in this time of crisis and in turn bring to all of us the healing we need from our own wounds and ills."
Bishops Joseph Vianney Fernando and Vincent Marius Peiris, president and secretary of the episcopal conference, respectively, signed the message. Last month, they raised their voices on behalf of the innocent and called for determined steps toward peace.
They expressed consternation over the many murders, disappearances and kidnappings that occurred due to constant violations of the 2002 cease-fire pact. That accord aimed to end two decades of clashes between the government and the Tamil Tigers.