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We were all affected by the loss of innocent lives due to the bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on the Easter Sunday this year. The gruesome bomb blasts shattered the happiness and calmness of Easter. These shocking acts of terrorism forced the people of Sri Lanka to go on lockdown, but the people around the world came out in support of the people of Sri Lanka.

One such support came from the Franciscan Family Chennai (FFC). An Inter-Religious Floral Tribute to the victims of bomb attack as well as to show our unity beyond boundaries of religion, caste and race were organized on the 28th of April 2019 behind Valluvarkottam, Chennai. The main topic of this interreligious meeting was, “Make me an instrument of Peace – Humanity beyond boundaries.”

The speakers during this meeting were invited from different religions such as Hinduism (Sr. Lalitha, Brahma Kumaris, Raja Yoga Meditation Centre, Nungambakkam and Swami Shashi Shikananda, Rama Krishna Mission), Islam (Mr. A. Faizur Rahman and Dr. Salahuddin Mahammad Ayub, Chief Kazi), Buddhism (Swami Shanthilalji) and from Christianity (Br. Praveen Henry D’Souza, OFM, President of AFFI).

The students sang the prayer song of Stella Maris College. Dr. Victor A. Singarayar, OFS, Joint Secretary of FFC, welcomed the speakers and the gathering. The nursing students of St. Isabel Hospital composed and sang a beautiful song on the importance of peace and unity among all religions. All much appreciated this song. All the speakers condemned the dreadful acts of violence carried out in Sri Land and all over the world in the name of Religion and Race. And they insisted the need to live in peace and harmony with each other.

Sr. Anthoniammal, FBS, recited the peace prayer dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. Mr. Arul, OFS read out a pledge for peace and unity among all religions and races in the world. And finally, Sr. Arul Mary, FMM, Secretary of FFC, gave the last words of acknowledgment.  She thanked all the speakers for their valuable contribution and the Franciscan Family that came together to prove that we can and ought to live in peace and unity with others.

Br. Joseph Raj, OFM
Coordinator of FFC and of the event – Chennai, India