04/03/2020, 16.28
SRI LANKA
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Card Ranjith: a vow to Our Lady to protect Sri Lanka and the world from COVID-19

by Melani Manel Perera

The archbishop of Colombo makes his supplication on the day of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows. This is the second vow a Church leader makes to Our Lady of Lanka. The first came in 1940 with the pledge to build a shrine to Mary if the country was spared from the world war.

 

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, made a special vow to Our Lady this morning asking her to protect Sri Lanka and the world from the COVID-19 epidemic.

This is the second time in the history of the country that a cardinal makes a vow to Our Lady of Lanka. The first time was during the Second World War.

The cardinal and two auxiliary bishops, Maxwell Silva and J.D. Anthony, prayed for 45 minutes in front of the statue of Our Lady in the Basilica of Our Lady of Tewatta. Today was chosen because it is dedicated to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows.

“The people and the entire country are going through a terrible and unfortunate period suffering from the COVID-19 epidemic, which we have not heard before,” said the cardinal.

"Therefore, let us turn to our beloved Mother, who saved our motherland once in the past, when the world war was taking place.”

“Our beloved Mother, like in the past you saved our Motherland, so today save Sri Lanka and the world from this dangerous epidemic.”

After a silent pause, the cardinal addressed the faithful and all those following the prayer on TV, urging them to examine their conscience and ask God for mercy for our sins: “Let’s ask God to forgive our sins and cure us.”

He mentioned that Mary was entrusted to John, the beloved disciple, under the cross with the words "Behold, your Mother!" (John 19:27), and that the disciple was entrusted to Mary, with the words "behold your son.”

"In saying this, Jesus handed over the entire human race and the world to Mother Mary. Therefore, from its very beginning, the Catholic Church has turned to our Blessed Mother in hard times . . . This is why today we have come at her feet.”

As everyone prayed silently, the cardinal, on his knees, wrote the vow on a parchment and placed it at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Lanka. For now, no one knows what vow contains.

In his final prayer, he asked for the Virgin’s intervention to save Sri Lanka and the world from the epidemic.

“After employing great remedies using human power and wisdom, we have not yet come to any conclusion. Mother, you saved our country from the Second World War, save our people, our country and all the people in world.”

At the beginning of World War Two (1939-1945), Archbishop Jean Marie Masson of Colombo, made a vow to build the Basilica for Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatta (Ragama) if the country was spared from the war.

Sri Lanka’s first cardinal, Thomas Benjamin Cooray, fulfilled the vow and began the construction of the basilica in 1950, which was completed in 1974.

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