From staff and wire reports
Bishop Edward J. Burns joined other faith leaders across the world April 21 in expressing sadness and horror in response to the deadly Easter blasts in Sri Lanka.
In a statement, Bishop Burns said he was “extremely saddened and horrified by the news that more than 200 innocent lives were lost at the hands of terrorists” in Sri Lanka.
“We pray for the souls of all those killed while they were worshiping at church on Easter Sunday and for those staying or working at hotels,” Bishop Burns said in the statement. “We pray for their families and for the 400 more who were injured in these devastating acts of terror. Let us ask Jesus our Risen Savior to touch the hearts and minds of all those who desire to inflict harm on others. Our celebration of Easter reminds us that evil, terror, suffering and death will not have the last word.”
The Associated Press reported that more than 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in eight bomb blasts that rocked churches and luxury hotels in or near Sri Lanka’s capital on Easter Sunday — the deadliest violence the South Asian island country has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago.
Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the bombings as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and police said 13 suspects were arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Wijewardena said most of the blasts were believed to have been suicide attacks.
The explosions at three churches and three hotels collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests.
Most of those killed were Sri Lankans. But the three hotels and one of the churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine, are frequented by foreign tourists, and Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said the bodies of at least 27 foreigners from a variety of countries were recovered. The U.S. said “several” American were among the dead, while Britain and China said they, too, lost citizens.