Australia

'We will come together': Thousands join mass in Sydney to pray for Sri Lanka

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More than 2000 people including Foreign Minister Marise Payne gathered at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral to pray after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

Thousands of people held flickering candles and raised their illuminated phones in Sydney as they prayed for the victims of what has been described as one of Sri Lanka's worst days.

A mass of remembrance was held at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral on Friday evening after the Easter Sunday bombings in hotels and churches which killed 253 people and wounded about 500.

It was followed by a candlelight vigil in the cathedral forecourt where people huddled together, some holding Sri Lankan flags and many using their phones as lights.

Members of the public join in an interfaith candlelight vigil for the victims of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.
Members of the public join in an interfaith candlelight vigil for the victims of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.
AAP

Sri Lanka's Consul General Lal Raj Wickrematunga told the crowd the community will get through with "compassion and love".

"After 10 years of peace, Sri Lanka had to face one of its worst days," he said.

"We have faced bigger hurdles before and come through."

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Immigration Minister David Coleman and deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek joined the gathering on Friday evening.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne during during the Mass of Remembrance at St Mary's Cathedral.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne during during the Mass of Remembrance at St Mary's Cathedral.
AAP

Among those gathered was Shanoi Fernando who grew up just 15 kilometres away from St Sebastian's Church in Negombo which was bombed in the attack.

"My mother-in-law who still lives there was in church - a different one - at the same time it happened," he said on Friday night.

"These events have tried to break us down, but tonight, this proves we will come together."

Sydney's Sri Lankan Catholic community came together for the mass with many worshippers having to stand in the packed-out cathedral.

More than two thousand people gathered at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral for the mass.
More than two thousand people gathered at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral for the mass.
AAP

Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher reflected on the two Australians killed in the attack, Manik Suriyaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria.

He described Ms Suriyaaratchi as a successful entrepreneur and her daughter as a "talkative angel" who loved music and dance.

Mr Fisher called for an end to hatred and violence during the mass.

"It's clear the Easter Sunday bombers hated Christians," he told the gathering.

Saminie Ratnaweera, 6, joins in on the interfaith candlelight vigil.
Saminie Ratnaweera, 6, joins in on the interfaith candlelight vigil.
AAP

"No more violence in God's name or hands, no more hatred or reprisals."

NSW Sri Lankan chaplain Father Chaminda Wanigasena said Friday's gathering was a "very sombre occasion" after a "moment of crisis".

Sydneysider Corinna Pereira said before the mass that it was a chance for the community to unite and pray for victims and their families.

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