Prayer Vigil for Sri Lanka held at Saint Joan of Arc Chapel


The ceremony began by recognizing victims of Sri Lanka and other terrorist attacks around the world. Photo by Joseph Beaird

Marquette University Campus Ministry held a prayer vigil at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

The ceremony preceded regular noon Mass as a group gathered around the tulip garden in front of the chapel. Bernardo Avila-Borunda, assistant of multicultural ministry, was the main speaker and guided song and prayer. 

The ceremony started by recognizing not only the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka but the ones happening around the world, including the Jolo Cathedral bombings in the Philippines and ChristChurch mosque shootings in New Zealand that both happened this March. 

“In solidarity with all our brothers and sisters around the world that are in mourning, let us offer our thoughts and our prayers,” Avila-Borunda said.

The Sri Lanka terrorist attacks happened Easter Sunday, April 21. According to the Washington Post, three Catholic churches in Colombo, Negambo and Batticaloa and three luxury hotels in Columbo were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 253 people were killed in the attacks and more than 500 others were injured.

The vigil included a reading of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Athenians and “A Prayer for Those Affected by the Bombings in Sri Lanka.” Then the group sang “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” by Sebastian Temple.

“We wanted to stand in solidarity and prayer, to bring people together,” Gerry Fischer, associate director of Campus Ministry, said.

About 25 people attended the vigil including students and community members. About a dozen of the attendees were from Sri Lanka.

“I am really grateful for Marquette for having this and inviting us,” said Shashini Welmillage, Ph.D. student at  the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who was born in Sri Lanka. “It means a lot to know that people everywhere are feeling this feeling with us and they all understand what is going on.”