'We have support:' Mourners gather at Marquette to host vigil for Sri Lankan bombing victims

MILWAUKEE -- It's been almost a week since explosions in Sri Lanka killed hundreds of people on Easter Sunday. On Friday, April 26, Marquette held a prayer vigil honoring the lives lost.

The goal of the vigil was to show solidarity and prayer. Sri Lankan students in attendance say the local support means a lot.

Shashini Welmillage

"It's really sad to see people suffering again," said Shashini Welmillage.

Last week's deadly bombings in Sri Lanka hit home for many, including people standing in this group.

"This affects everyone everywhere," said Welmillage.

In response to Easter Sunday's terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, Milwaukeeans gathered at Marquette on Friday for a vigil to show solidarity throughout prayer. The vigil took place outside of the St. Joan of Arc Chapel on Marquette's campus. Everyone prayed in a circle for peace, using the prayer of St. Francis.

Vigil for Sri Lanka at MU

Gerry Fischer

"Sometimes, we just move to be just together and pray to God, because there's nothing else we can do," said Gerry Fischer, a member of Marquette's Campus Ministry.

Some of the people in the crowd, including Sri Lankan students and professors, say the support means the world to them.

"It's nice to know that people care," said Anita Manogaran, a professor.

Vigil for Sri Lanka at MU

Anita Manogaran

The tragedy killed more than 300 people. Sri Lankans in Milwaukee say it's hard to be thousands of miles away from family and friends -- but being surrounded by support here has made it a little bit easier.

"It allows me to reflect on the event, and knowing that we have support is really important," said Manogaran.

"It felt good to have this, and to hear the prayers," said Welmillage. "It felt good to the heart."

Some students say the hardest part has been getting in contact with their family in Sri Lanka -- but they're thankful for the support here in Milwaukee.

Vigil for Sri Lanka at MU