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Tsunami Spurs Interreligious Ceremony

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, JAN. 28, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Asia’s killer tsunami has given rise to interreligious activity in its wake.

On Wednesday, this capital was the scene of an interreligious celebration in which Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims participated, in memory of the more than 31,000 who died in the Dec. 26 tsunami that hit Sri Lanka.

The initiative was the idea of the Interreligious Peace Foundation, which plans another such event Feb. 5. On that day a march will leave from Colombo to the northern city of Jaffna.

The group said that at least 77 Buddhist temples and 67 Christian churches were destroyed or severely damaged by the tsunami. Information about Hindu temples and Muslim mosques was still being gathered.

In Jaffna, Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam celebrated Mass Wednesday in the cathedral for the Catholic minority.

In his homily he asked for prayers “for those who lost their lives in the tidal wave, for those who survived, so that they will not lose hope and find courage to begin again, and for a speedy work of recovery and reconstruction,” the Missionary Service News Agency reported.

Estimates of the tsunami death toll vary from 145,000 to 178,000 people in 11 countries, according to the Associated Press.

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