Cardinal urges Sri Lankan faithful to celebrate Christmas with family

A file image of Sri Lankan Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranjith during a Mass attended by Easter Sunday attack survivors on the occasion of the reopening of St. Anthony's Church in Colombo on June 12, 2019. Sri Lanka's bombed Catholic church was reconsecrated on June 12 that year with a prayer for a strong national leader to punish those responsible for the Easter attacks that killed 258. (Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via LiCAS.news)

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo urged Catholics in Sri Lanka to celebrate Christmas with family and to observe the day with faith, especially in the middle of the pandemic.

“Celebrate this Christmas with close family members and try to help those who have been directly affected by COVID-19,” said the prelate in a media briefing.

“I request Catholics not to move from district to district to visit relatives due to the heightened risk of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said reported Asia News.

“There are people who have lost their jobs. There are people who are facing a financial crisis. Invite such a family to celebrate Christmas with you or send them some food or a meal,” he added.

Cardinal Ranjith called on the government and the private sector to refrain from holding parties and meetings during the holidays and to instead focus on “spirituality” and in “serving people in need.”

He appealed to the media to celebrate Christmas in a proper way.

“Christmas is not a jolly celebration. It is a spiritual and religious moment. We are against using the ideal meaning of Christmas for other purposes,” said the Cardinal.

The prelate announced that Christmas services will be held every hour, starting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 up to Christmas Day.

The celebrations, including the Christmas Eve Mass, will be limited to only 50 people following the strict health regulations of the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Christmas Masses will be arranged by parish priests according to the needs of each parish subject to health guidelines,” said Cardinal Ranjith.

The cardinal will celebrate Mass on the 24th at the St. Sebastian Church in Kandana while Auxiliary Bishop Maxwell Silva will be at the Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in Kimbulapitiya.

The apostolic nuncio, Monsignor Brian Udaigwe, will celebrate Mass in English at the All Saints Church in Borella, Colombo.

All the religious services will be broadcast live on various television channels. - LiCAS.news