Rural Catholic church defies Sri Lanka threats, holds Mass
THANNAMUNAI, Sri Lanka (AP) — The checkpoints started just outside of the east Sri Lanka village, the strictest seen in the days after Islamic State-aligned militants launched suicide attacks that killed over 250 people.
Buses disgorged their passengers. Cars lined up single file so soldiers could open their hoods to inspect engine blocks and pull everything out of trunks.
The reason became clear soon after, as the sound of hymns filled the air of Thannamunai.
The small village in eastern Sri Lanka held likely the first Mass since Catholic leaders closed all their churches for fear of further attacks. Under incredibly tight security, worshippers watched a priest be ordained as they hoped for a future when Mass wouldn’t require hundreds of troops armed with assault rifles to defend it.