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ICC Note:

Christians in Sri Lanka have will mark a day of fasting and prayer for the persecuted worldwide on June 7, the feast day of Corpus Christi. Christians in Sri Lanka are no strangers to persecution having suffered at the hands of Buddhist extremists in recent years. Christian leaders announced the decision while highlighting the growing number of Christians worldwide who now suffer persecution because of their Christian faith. 

5/14/2015 Sri Lanka (Asia News) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) will mark the feast day of Corpus Christi (7 June) with a day of fasting and prayer in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world.

The bishops made their announcement in a statement signed by Conference president, Card Malcolm Ranjith, and its secretary general, Mgr Valence Mendis.

“On this day in which we commemorate the supreme sacrifice of the life of Jesus” in which he shed “His blood in expiation of our sins,” prayers for the persecuted will take place.

In response to the rising number of Christians killed for their faith around the world, the bishops “observed with much sadness how they have been brutally assassinated even while they were engaged in prayer and worship.”

“We are most shocked to know that even children, the most innocent of human society,” have “become the victims of such untold brutally and violence.”

In its statement, the CBCSL strongly urges all heads of governments and all men and women of good will to do everything within their power to put an end to these killings and all other forms of violence in the name of religion.

“We wish to express our deepest condemnation of such inhumane activities which violate one of the most fundamental rights of every human person namely, one’s religious freedom.”

“Life is God’s most precious gift to every human being and everyone is most free to adhere to any religion of one’s own choice. Hence, one’s religious affiliation cannot merely be the cause of his or her death since no one can kill in the name of God.”

“We hold with the highest regard and respect the ultimate sacrifice of these brothers and sisters in the faith,” the bishops said. in view of this, “Let us be deeply united in prayer with all those who mourn these most deplorable losses so that the Lord comfort, strengthen and grant solace to all their families, their near and dear ones.”

Finally, “Let all of us cry out to God,” the statement said, “and be unceasing in prayer so that all those involved in these acts of such terror and violence be halted with immediate effect sparing the lives of all innocent human beings, both children and adults.”

Sri Lanka too has been the scene of episodes of persecution based on religion. The country is home to several fundamentalist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) whose mission is to “protect Buddhists and Sinhala people”.

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