As hundreds of victims from the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka are laid to rest this week, Lauren Ashburn of EWTN News Nightly spoke with Father Jude Fernando, a parish priest at St. Anthony’s Parish in Colombo, and heard his harrowing account of the tragic bombing.
‘If I would’ve taken two steps further, I would have been hurt. Luckily, God saved my life,” Father Fernando explained. The sound of the explosion was like nothing he’d ever heard before. All around him, people were screaming and crying. He and another priest who had been celebrating Mass sprang into action, helping those injured get to local hospitals.
After witnessing such a brutal bloodbath, Father Fernando has still called for peace and forgiveness. Reflecting on the Lenten season and embracing the reason for Jesus’ Resurrection, Father Fernando told ENN, “Our Lord is a not a Lord of revenge, he is a Lord of love and peace.”
Recalling the words of Christ as he was crucified on the cross, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they do,” Father Fernando said, “We are all sinners, and Jesus died for us all.” He added, “We are a peace-loving people, and we need to share that love.”
During this time of tragedy, Father Fernando spoke of how important it is for Catholics to stress forgiveness and love.
The threat of violence is not over in Sri Lanka. Government officials are warning residents of other potential ISIS-inspired attacks. Church services have been suspended but Father Fernando says he’s not going anywhere.
“I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere,” he told Lauren Ashburn. “I’m not afraid to die. This is a house of prayer. I need to be here.”
The priest confirmed his commitment to rebuild his church regardless of the dangers that exist.
St. Anthony’s parish has received hundreds of calls from people all over the world offering prayers, sharing in the pain and suffering of his parishioners and all of Sri Lanka, said Father Fernando. The priest expressed his gratitude for the support and asked for all those who are praying for a singular focus.
Father Fernando said, “I humbly request that you continue to pray for us, continue to be with us, and please spread the good news: Peace. We need peace everywhere in the world.”