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08/12/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Easter morning, in all of its reverent, bustling glory, was in full swing at St. Anthony’s Shrine on the coast of Sri Lanka. Father Joy Mariaratnam’s parish gathered to take commu­nion and pray in celebra­tion of the death and res­urrection of Jesus Christ. Nobody suspected that the day of celebration would devolve into terror and chaos.

The blast went off in the middle of the fourth prayer of mass. In the shock of the moment, Father Joy thought that the trans­former or electrical circuits blew out. It wasn’t until he saw a head soaring from one side of St. Anthony’s Shrine to the other that he real­ized his church had been attacked.

On the opposite side of the island country, Arun Prashanth crawled on his hands and knees, his hands shaking as he tried to help members of his church family. Having sus­tained a serious spinal injury from the bomb blast, he didn’t get far before he collapsed and was taken to a hospital.

Islamic suicide bombers targeted three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21. Of the members of Father Joy’s parish who gathered to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection, around 100 left in death to join Him. Arun clung to life for 40 days in an intensive ward before he too joined his savior in Heaven. He was the sole breadwin­ner of his family, and he took good care of his widowed mother during his lifetime.

“Jesus died on Good Friday; and on Easter Sunday, he was raised back to life. My son, sister, and brother-in-law died, but they were raised to new life with Jesus on that day,” said Arasaratnam Verl in an interview with World Watch Monitor.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.

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