Pope Francis lamented the Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka that left an estimated 200 dead and hundreds more injured. His comments came at the conclusion of his “Urbi et Orbi” message from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
“I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.,” the Holy Father said. “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.”
Unknown attackers set off at least seven explosives on Easter Sunday morning at three churches and four hotels, according to Vatican News.
Two of the churches targeted were Catholic and one was an evangelical church.
The first blast hit St. Anthony’s Catholic Shrine in Kochchikade, a district north of the capital Colombo, causing heavy casualties.
Dozens of people died at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Negombo, another district north of Colombo.
The targeted evangelical church was in Batticaloa in Eastern Province, where more than two dozen people were killed.
The explosions struck within a short period of time, all targeting the faithful as Easter services were beginning.
At least nine foreigners were killed in Sunday’s attacks.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, said it is “a very, very sad day for all of us. I wish, therefore, to express my deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone, and also to those who have been injured and rendered destitute. I condemn – to the utmost of my capacity – this act that has caused so much death and suffering to the people.” He called for the government to determine who was responsible.