International News

St. Sebastian Church in Sri Lanka Re-consecrated Three Months After Easter Bombings

St. Sebastian’s Church Katuwapitiya in Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo: Vatican News)

The Tablet Staff

St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Sri Lanka was re-consecrated on July 21, three months after it was severely damaged by bombings on Easter Sunday.

The consecration ceremony included the unveiling of a stone monument displaying the names of the 114 people killed in the church during the April 21 attack. A Mass followed at the church, which is located in Katuwapitiya, Negombo city, north of the capital city of Colombo, Vatican News reported.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, celebrated the Mass and the consecration service. A large number of faithful attended, including the victims’ families.

The Easter bombings included attacks on three churches and four hotels. They killed a total of 255 people and injured about 500, according to Vatican News. St. Sebastian sustained the most casualties of the three churches, two of which were Catholic. St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and Evangelical Zion Church, located on Sri Lanka’s eastern coast, were also attacked.

A local jihadist group known as National Thowheed Jamath claiming to have ties to Islamic State took responsibility for the bombings, according to News18, an English-language news outlet in India. 

Cardinal Ranjith said he fears that the ongoing investigation “will be brushed under the carpet,” and has been denouncing the government for its alleged involvement in the attacks. He believes that they could have been prevented, Vatican News reported.

“The current leaders have failed. They have no backbone,” Cardinal Ranjith said. “They must leave the government and go home and allow someone else to govern the country.”

Cardinal Ranjith has been urging the government to launch a “very impartial strong inquiry” into the terror attack and punish those found responsible “mercilessly, because only animals can behave like that,” according to Vatican News.

St. Sebastian has received about $2 million in local and worldwide donations which will be used to help the children affected by the blast, the families of the victims and the survivors. 

A part of the donation will also help the reconstruction of Evangelical Zion Church.