Catholic family devastated in Easter Sunday attacks hasn't lost their faith

Yesterday marked seven months since three attacks left 263 people dead in Sri Lanka. Sudheera Fernando, father of three, died in the blast at the St Sebastian Church. ‘We have no words of anger or revenge against those who made our life so miserable,” say family members.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – In the Easter Sunday attacks “we lost our beloved Thaththi (father), but we did not lose our faith,” members of a Sri Lankan Catholic family told AsiaNews.

On 21 April, the entire family attended Easter Sunday Mass at St Sebastian Catholic Church in Katuwapitya, Negombo. A daughter sang in the choir, the father was sitting in the first benches, the mother was outside together with the other two children. The father, who was recovering from a long illness, was killed in the blast.

On that day, suicide bombers attacked three churches (two Catholic and one Protestant) and three luxury hotels in Colombo. Some 263 people were killed, and more than a hundred seriously wounded. Yesterday marked the seventh month since the tragedy.

Geetha Appuhamy, 42, lost her husband, Sudheera Fernando, 48, and is left with their three children: two sons, Sudhara and Elisha, who study at Mari Stella College in Negombo; and a daughter, Feona Angel, who attends the St Joseph’s College.

“The children miss their father so much,’” says Geetha. “We were a happy family. They need a dad, and I need a husband.”

Her husband worked for Sri Lankan Airlines, wife Geetha explains, but in 2014 he had to take a leave of absence due to kidney problems. He later received a transplant, but remained paralysed and could hardly talk.

“He was recovering little by little and in the last period he was doing better. This is why we decided to participate in Lenten Masses. Every morning at 7am we went to Mass.

“At the end of 40 days, he started talking again. For us that was a miracle; we were so happy. A few days later however, the bomb exploded and he was killed by a piece of metal that struck him in the head. God gives and God takes away.”

Ms Geetha makes a living selling simple flower arrangements. Without the help of the Church and the Archdiocese of Colombo she would have ended up on the streets without a home.

For her family, “There is not a single moment that we don’t think about him. We can’t stop crying. We believe in God, we love Jesus, and we turn our thoughts to the eternal rest in the house of the Father. We have no words of anger or revenge against those who made our life so miserable.”


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