Updated: September 08, 2021 01:54 PM GMT
Sri Lankans at a vaccination center in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last month. (Photo: AFP)
Sri Lankan Catholics have observed fasting and prayers seeking God’s intercession to prevent, protect and heal all affected by the Covid-19 virus in the country and the world.
“Celebrate the birthday of Mother Mary as a day of fasting and prayer from home. Recite the rosary … to save our country and the world from the deadly pandemic,” he said.
Cardinal Ranjith called out the forces trying to control the world through the coronavirus. “The virus is recognized as a product made in modern laboratories for the power struggles of the powerful nations,” he said.
“Mother Mary, eliminate the fear of the disease and bless all the people to live happily in their own lands … Intercede for us so that the sick may be healed and the healthy are not sick,” read a prayer specially composed for the occasion.
Mary Nilani, a Catholic mother from Negombo city on the west coast, said many families attended rosary recitals and watched and listened to Catholic television channels and radio.
We mourn his passing away, though what he has left us will continue to reverberate in our hearts
Various groups including priests, religious and lay leaders were assigned to continue to recite the rosary until midnight even as the island nation observed a quarantine curfew that will last until Sept. 13.
Catholics also mourned the recent death of the country’s music legend Sunil Perera due to Covid-related complications on Sept. 6. “We mourn his passing away, though what he has left us will continue to reverberate in our hearts,” Cardinal Ranjith said in a statement.
Heenmenike, the wife of prominent Sri Lankan aboriginal leader Uruwarige Vannila Aththo, died of Covid-19 on Sept. 5. The pandemic has claimed the lives of priests, nuns, doctors and nurses among others.
Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella said that with the spread of the Delta variant, Sri Lanka has experienced its highest number of patients and deaths this year.
Rambukwella said that saving the lives of people is the highest priority. Over 85 percent of the population above the age of 20 have received the first dose of vaccine and 62 percent have had both doses.
Sri Lanka has been designated a red zone based on the current prevalence of Covid-19. The number of deaths across the country had risen to 10,524 while the number of new infections was 2,964 on Sept. 7. Most of those who succumbed were 60 years and above.