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Local Sri Lanka family saddened by church bombings

The Jayawardhana family experienced Sri Lanka's civil war and said Sunday's violence reopened old wounds.

CITRUS PARK, Fla. — It’s a sacred day for Christians around the world and for one Tampa family, this Easter Sunday was even more special with the baptism of their 4-month-old son.

The morning started off anything buy joyful following a series of overnight bombings targeting Christian churches in the Jayawardhana family’s home country of Sri Lanka.

“I just couldn’t believe what I really saw,” Cryshantha Jayawardhana who traveled all the way to the United States for his grandson’s Baptism said. He said he and his wife recently visited one of the churches attacked before leaving on their trip.

“It’s a very miraculous church and very sacred,” said Jayawardhana.  “Before we traveled to this country we went to that church for safe travel and I know there were a lot of people in that church.”

Sri Lanka has been a peaceful country for nearly a decade. Sunday’s violence re-opened wounds from the country’s Civil War, which most Sri Lankans lived through.

“It just brings to mind all the fear growing up,” Chin Jayawardhana, the child’s father said.

“My wife was also subject to a bomb blast more than 15 years back and we know how devastating it is to have bombs going off,” Cryshantha said.

While the latest attack targeted Christians, the family said people of all faiths should stand against violence.

“A place of worship was attacked in New Zealand and they were Muslims,” said mother Elizabeth Jayawardhana.  “My heart is aching for them as well…  and Christians and Buddhists and Hindus.  Religion is not something that should be a divider.”

This says they are praying for peace hopeful their little boy will grow up in a world with far less evil.

“I hope the world is not going to be like this for him,” Cryshantha said. “That’s my prayer for today:  that we have a much better world that we can offer these children.”

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