"The whole country was baptised overnight"
Father Prasad Harshan supports the victims of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka with his “Faith Animation Team”

An interview by Stephan Baier / Aid to the Church in Need

Father Prasad, the terror attacks at Easter in three Christian churches in Sri Lanka have wounded the faithful not only physically and psychologically, but also in their faith. How does the Church support them?

Our Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith wanted to have missionaries on the street, going from parish to parish, from street to street, to listen to the people in their homes, to hear their stories and stand by them in all their struggles of faith. We already started this three years ago. Now, when we learned of this tragedy, it has become a blessing; a blessing for the Church and for the people. We are five priests who are working with the terror victims. We are particularly active in Negombo, where 115 people were murdered and more than 280 injured in a single parish. Everywhere we see black flags of mourning. The people are wounded, physically, mentally and spiritually. We see how the people have been wounded in their faith and in their religious life. In 30 years of civil war, we never had such bomb attacks in churches. The people are asking themselves, why did it happen? And why at Easter?

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Father Prasad Harshan has been supports the victims of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Sri Lanka - First Mass Celebrated in St Sebastian's Church After the 2019 Easter Attacks - Many Christians still Severely Traumatised

by Matthias Böhnke edited by Laura Cain

The first Holy Mass was celebrated on the 21st of July at St. Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Sri Lanka, three months after the attack on Easter Sunday (April 21st)  where a suicide bomber killed close to 100 people. The statue of Jesus covered in the martyrs' blood stands at the front of the Church.  The Holy Mass was attended by 1000 people including victims of the attack and was celebrated by Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. A special security plan was in place surrounding the church premises.

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A statue of Christ that was in St Sebastian's Church was splattered with the blood of the victims. It is now surrounded by glass and venerated in memory of those that lost their lives whilst worshipping on Easter Sunday.
Photographer/Author: Bartek Zytkowiak
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

Ecumenism: Catholics and Russian Orthodox collaborate to help Christians in the Middle East

by Eva-Maria Kolmann

A delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate visited the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need over the last few days to discuss further joint aid campaigns in the Middle East.

On 16 and 17 July, a delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate visited the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The subject under discussion was the development of further joint projects in Syria and Iraq in response to the appeal made by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill to their Churches in February 2016 during their historic meeting in Havana. At the heart of their message was, among other things, the collaboration between the two Churches to help Christians in need and particularly those in the Middle East.

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Visit of a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate to ACN Headquarters to discuss common projects in the Middle East to reinforce the common efforts of Catholics and Orthodox to help suffering Christians in the Middle East. Photographer: Eva-Maria Kolmann. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

NICARAGUA: “The unity of the Church is the greatest strength that we bishops have”

by Maria Lozano.

Nicaragua is still shaken by the crisis that began 14 months ago. The country continues to make headlines – such as in mid-June with the pardoning of almost one hundred people who were still imprisoned for protesting against the government the year before. This matter was also addressed at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Medellín from 26 to 28 June. The situation in the Central American country is critical, with a great degree of polarisation and a lot of confrontation. Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos of Matagalpa talked about this during a visit to the international headquarters of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

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Nicaragua is still shaken by the crisis that began 14 months ago. Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos talked about this to ACN. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Bishop of Dori (Burkina Faso) Asks to Stop the Outside Support for the Jihadists

by Marta Petrosillo

“If the world continues to do nothing, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in this area and quite possibly in future from the entire country.” These were the warning words given to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) by Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré of the diocese of Dori, in the northeast of Burkina Faso, following the umpteenth attack against Christians in the country recently.

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Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré of the diocese of Dori, in the northeast of Burkina Faso.

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