ACN supports ‘healing for the wounds of the heart’ for bombing victims in Sri Lanka

In St. Sebastian’s Church, faithful gather by statue of Christ spattered with blood of bombing vicims

AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN) is working with the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, to help victims of the terrorist attacks that took place on Easter Sunday. The morning of April 21, 2019, Islamist suicide bombers claimed the lives of almost 300 people and injured more than 500 in three Christian churches as well as three hotels.

Thanks to support from throughout the country and from the Sri Lankan diaspora, as well as immediate relief measures taken by the government, it was possible to quickly rebuild the two Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Colombo that had been targeted by the terrorists.

The affected families immediately received medical and material aid. The Archdiocese of Colombo has begun to provide long-term, post-traumatic care as well as psychosocial assistance for the survivors and their families. ACN is providing the funding for this project.

There are many people who experienced the attacks directly and are severely traumatized. A large number of families are still taking care of their relatives, some of whom sustained severe injuries.

To provide for their needs, the Archdiocese of Colombo has set up a team of 40 certified trauma therapists. They provide psychological care for grieving, injured and other severely traumatized people.

Therapy programs specifically geared towards children, families and people living alone are in the planning stages. Overall, these programs will benefit more than 2,000 people.

A large part of the aid provided by ACN will be used to train 300 consultants and social workers—also in the area of youth services—to ensure that they can identify traumatized people and support them in a manner appropriate to their needs.

The focus of the programs is helping people cope with trauma and grief from a Christian perspective. They include Bible-based sessions held under the motto, “Healing for the Wounds of the Heart.”

—Maria Lozano