St Sebastian’s Church damaged in April blasts reconsecrated

The St Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo was reconsecrated today (Sunday), three months after it was badly damaged in the Easter Sunday blasts that rocked the island nation.

A monument with the names of 114 people, who died during the church attack, inscribed on it was also unveiled during the reconsecration ceremony.

The head of the local Catholic church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, attended the mass and conducted the service to consecrate the church, the Press Trust of India reported.

A large number of people, including the victims’ families, attended the ceremony.

“The Sri Lankan navy speedily reconstructed the church,” Father Manjula of the church told reporters.

Over 260 people were killed and around 500 others injured when six near-simultaneous and coordinated explosions, carried out by local jihadist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) linked to the Islamic State (IS), rocked three churches and three luxury hotels frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka on April 21.

While describing the horror scene at the St Sebastian’s Church, a top priest had said that pieces of flesh were thrown all over the walls, on the sanctuary and even outside the church.

The church, built in 1946, is one of the many churches in Sri Lanka dedicated to St Sebastian who is considered a martyr in the Catholic Church history.

Addressing the gathering after the reconsecration ceremony, Cardinal Ranjith questioned the ongoing probe into the blasts and said he feared that the investigation “will be brushed under the carpet”.

He had earlier urged 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.”

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