Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has called on the Sri Lankan government to allow the faithful to attend church services under quarantine laws as the country contains the Covid-19 outbreak. "In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Church halted Masses and church services," said Cardinal Ranjith as he celebrated Mass in a June 7 broadcast. The Sri Lankan Church canceled Masses and other services in all parishes across the country on March 15. The decision came in the middle of the Lenten season that features common gatherings such as the Way of the Cross, Lenten pilgrimages, group meditation, healing services and group prayer services. The country has been successful so far in the fight against the coronavirus. According to the Health Ministry, there were 1,835 Covid-19 cases with 21 more testing positive for the coronavirus as of June 7. Some 883 patients are receiving treatment at hospitals and 11 patients have died, while 941 patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Mary Silva, a member of the Legion of Mary, said she has not been able to attend Mass since March 19. "I and my family have attended Mass every Sunday since my childhood except during the Covid-19 period," said Silva. "There have been no Sunday school for our children, no wedding ceremonies, no holy hours, no healing services, no parish meetings and daily Mass." Cardinal Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said the Church has given its full support to government efforts to stem the epidemic and suspended all activities. "We ask that those who are eagerly waiting to attend Holy Mass should be allowed to do so under certain conditions and with a limited number of people under quarantine laws. Other religions should also be given the same opportunity to do so," he said. Cardinal Ranjith requested that services resume by following health guidelines and with the participation of a limited congregation. Buddhists celebrated the Poson Poya festival on June 5 at home after a curfew was enforced throughout the country. Poson zones, almsgiving stalls and pandals were canceled this year. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka called on all followers to observe March 22 as a day of fasting and prayer calling on the Blessed Mother to intercede with God to prevent, protect and heal all nationwide and globally and to rid the world of the devastating virus. Cardinal Ranjith also made a vow to Mother Mary at the National Basilica shrine in Tewatta to save Sri Lanka from the coronavirus on April 3.
Support UCA News...
As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.
That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.
Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.
UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.
We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.
Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...