Taranaki vigil for victims of Sri Lankan bombing

Taranaki has come together for a vigil for the Sri Lankan community.

The Taranaki Sri Lankan community organized the vigil for the victims of the bombings in their motherland.

On Easter Sunday three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels were targeted in terrorist suicide bombings, as well as a housing complex and a guest house. In total 253 people were killed and at least 500 people were injured.

On Thursday St. Joseph Church of New Plymouth hosted the Taranaki vigil and representatives of many communities and religions gathered to share prayers, blessings, and honour the victims.

Catholics prayers were enriched with Buddhist blessings, Hindu scriptures, and Quran readings. The message of all the speakers was “peace on Earth”.

Father Simon and Archdeacon Trevor lit two big candles, from which representatives of different community groups lit eight candles, for the people who were lost in each of the eight bombings in Sri Lanka.

After a minute of silence the vigil guests were were asked to shake hands and say something good to people next to them.

Many said this was the best part of the evening, as everyone felt accepted and appreciated. The most popular person for handshakes was New Plymouth district’s current mayor, Neil Holdom.

Words and photos by Olena Williams.