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Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Catholics hold Covid-19 vigil

Cardinal Ranjith leads 24-hour prayer service as more restrictions are imposed to contain pandemic

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Updated: November 02, 2020 10:36 AM GMT
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Sri Lankan Catholics hold Covid-19 vigil

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a Buddha statue in Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Nov. 1 after a three-day curfew was announced to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo: AFP)

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Catholic media including Radio Veritas, Seth FM radio and Verbum TV have held a 24-hour special prayer service to save Sri Lanka and the world from the rapid spread of Covid-19.

Under the guidance of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, lay faithful and clergy prayed continuously for 24 hours from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.

Winifreeda Perera, 63, said the vigil was a blessing in this moment of loneliness and fear.

"We as a family participated in all these prayers in front of the statue of Mother of Mary in our house throughout the night and consider it a great blessing for us in this tense situation," said Perera.

Cardinal Ranjith said that man is trying to create a world without God and modern man is empty inside.

"This pandemic is spreading in the country today and we give less priority to protect discipline. Our people don't care if they have been advised to be careful," said Cardinal Ranjith during a broadcast and televised Mass on Nov. 1.

"As Catholics, we must fulfill our social responsibility. We should respect all requests made by health officers and other government officers at this moment. We can only overcome this catastrophe if everyone contributes to this task."

Cardinal Ranjith said the local Church would hold other prayer services. "Every day at 6.30am, we recite the prayer to Our Lady of Lanka. And we hope to launch a special program from 6.30pm to 7pm every day," he said.

The number of Covid-19 deaths in the world is nearing 1.2 million from 46.4 million confirmed cases.

In Sri Lanka, a curfew has been imposed in many police divisions to battle against the second wave of the pandemic. The country has recorded more than 11,000 cases and 21 deaths.

The Government Medical Officers' Association has called on authorities to conduct more coronavirus tests on randomly selected samples from the community.

Cardinal Ranjith made a special statement on Oct. 30 and urged people to wear face masks, to keep their distance, wash their hands and use sanitizers.

"We may have many needs, but we must make sacrifices for our brothers and sisters. Sacrifice for our brothers and for the country is part of our Christian life. I urge all of you to respect those rules and always extend your support to those health officers," said Cardinal Ranjith.

Kapila Gunawardana, secretary to the Ministry of Buddasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, has requested Buddhist monks to recite the Ratana Sutta and Jaya Piritha twice a day to invoke blessings for the eradication of Covid-19.

He urged Hindu, Christian and Muslim clerics to hold special prayer sessions.

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