Sri Lanka cricket fans - awaiting India in the World Cup final
Religious leaders have conducted a special prayer service for the Sri Lankan cricket team as it bids to win a second cricket World Cup in tomorrow's final against India
Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by five wickets on March29 while India beat Pakistan a day later.
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders organized the service at Vidyalankara Pirivena (Temple) at Peliyagoda in Colombo on April 01.
“We urge to our countrymen unite together and pray for the cricket team to bring the world cup to the country,” said Professor Venerable Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thero, chairman of Inter-Religious Alliance for National Unity (IRANU) addressing the media.
“We bless the national team for their health and guidance to bring the cup to Sri Lanka,” said Anglican Father Sellaih Joseph Jeyaraj. “We trust on God and hope that they will bring the cup to Sri Lanka,” said Father Jeyaraj after the prayer service.
Bowler Muttiah Muralitharan studied in a Church run school. “I was blessed with excellent priests and teachers,” he said.
India reached the final of the world cup after beating fierce rivals and neighbors Pakistan by 29 runs in Mohali. The match in Punjab was Pakistan's first match in India since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks which strained relations between the two sub-continent nations.
In Pakistan, special prayers were offered in worship places. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus offered prayers for Pakistan’s success.
Some Catholic parish halls in Pakistan were booked for screening of the match. The youth group of St. Anthony’s Church in Karachi created a page on Facebook
inviting “the Christian community” to see the match in the parish hall in Karachi.
The group instructed youngsters to don the national cricket team colors. It arranged for a big screen to show the match and for the Pakistani flag to be painted on faces. “The funds from tickets of 50 rupees (less than US$2) will go to youth development programs,” said Father Clifford Roderick, the parish priest.
In Lahore archdiocese, both minor and major seminary concluded classes at noon to view the match. “It is very important for future priests to understand the topics of interest to the world,” said Father Khalid Yousaf, rector of St. Francis Xavier major seminary.
Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had announced a half working day for government offices as he left for India to watch the match with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.