Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka confirmed – Colombo archdiocese

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, at the meeting of clergy of the Archdiocese of Colombo on Monday 27th October 2014 at the Archbishop’s House, confirmed Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka on Jan. 13 and 14, 2015, the archdiocese reported on its website.

A delegation from the Vatican is reportedly expected to arrive in Sri Lanka to work out the program me for the Pope’s visit.

Read Colombo archdiocese’s full report

Questions about the pope’s announced visit arose in recent weeks after news broke of possible elections in the country in January. 

In a letter to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Cardinal Ranjith reportedly asking the president to inform the church about the date of election and informed the nation’s leader that it was not appropriate for the Pope to visit any country at times of national elections.

Sri Lanka government reportedly confirmed Oct. 26 that the government is taking necessary steps, including necessary infrastructure arrangements, as planned, to facilitate the arrival of Pope Francis.



Sri Lanka Cardinal Ranjith: Don’t politicize pope’s visit

Sri Lanka, screen shot

Sri Lanka, screen shot

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has urged the government and the opposition to refrain from using Pope Francis’ visit as a political tool, amid speculation that snap presidential polls will be declared early next year.

Full report in Daily FT

Pope Francis to visit Madhu Shrine, spend time with war victims, orphans? – Sri Lanka web news

Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

screenshot – Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

Pope Francis would visit the historical Madhu Shrine during his stay in Sri Lanka in January next year, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo reportedly announced in Madhu.

The Pope will arrive in Sri Lanka on the 13th of January 2015, and celebrate mass at the Galle Face Green on the 14th morning before heading to Mannar District in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, reported EyeSriLanka online newspaper.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in the district of Mannar is considered one the holiest Catholic shrine in Sri Lanka, and is a place of worship for both the Sinhalese and the Tamils and has been considered a symbol of unity between the two communities.

Bishop Rayappu Joseph, said Pope Francis would visit the Madhu shrine during his January visit and bless the war victims at a special mass at the shrine.

Bishop Joseph along with Cardinal Ranjith blessed thousands of pilgrims who gathered there from various parts of the island for the August festival last Friday, Aug. 15 . 

“Pope Francis will be the first Pope to travel out of Colombo,” Bishop Joseph is quoted saying. The Pope is expected to interact with the war widows, disabled persons and orphans, he added.

Read EyeSriLanka report

Related posts

Concern about Pope Francis’ Sri Lanka visit mounts with militant climate vs. religious minorities
Sri Lanka’s Buddhist-Muslim clashes reveal the evil of politicising religion, Hector Welgampola
What can Asia expect of upcoming papal visits?
Ruki Fernando out of detention – is he free?

Gov’t hosts meeting for Pope Francis’ Visit to Sri Lanka, ahead of PH

Sri Lanka’s Inter-Ministerial Task Force preparing for Pope Francis’ “state visit” from January 13 to 15 next year gathered together  public, civic, private business and Church leaders for the first time June 24 at the External Affairs Ministry, its Daily News national newspaper reported.

Sri Lankan unofficial source for dates of the papal visit to the south Asian country has also been cited saying the pope would arrive in the Philippines from Sri Lanka on January 15 in a report which the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website  and Facebook account cited.

For the Sri Lanka visit, External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris welcomed Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Apostolic Nuncio Nguyen Van Tot, Bishop of Chilaw Most Rev. Valence Mendis, Bishop of Galle Most Rev. Raymond Wickramasinghe, Bishop of Kurunegala Most Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Law and Order Ministry Secretary Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi, Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary Dr. Charitha Herath, Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya, Army Commander Lt. General R.M.D. Ratnayake, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Air Force Commander Air Marshal K.A. Gunathilake, Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon and representatives of other stakeholder institutions including the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry, the Highways Ministry, Airport and Aviation Services Ltd., SriLankan Airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Immigration and Emigration Department and the Colombo Municipal Council.

All arrangements regarding the State Visit of His Holiness the Pope were discussed comprehensively at this meeting.

It was agreed that a further discussion would take place with the advance team from the Vatican due to visit Sri Lanka next week.

Read report, view meeting photos 

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis would be travelling to Korea from August 14 to August 18 this year during which he will visit with and address young people from around the region gathered for Asian Youth Day, persons with disabilities, leaders of religious and lay groups. The pope will also hold private meetings with South Korean president and public officials as well as Catholic bishops of Korea.

No formal announcement has come from the Vatican concerning exact dates of Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, which the pope told an inflight press conference would be on January.

Sri Lanka media, quoting Cardinal Ranjith reported the January 13 – January 15 visit to their south Asian country. Catholic News Agency report later cited Monsignor Nevin Perera, coordinator of Sri Lankan migrants in Italy, saying that Pope Francis will leave Sri Lanka for Manila on the morning of January 15.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also expressed confidence that the papal visit will push through. In an early June press conference on the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress attended by CiA, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo told reporters a Vatican representative is expected to attend the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines July plenary assembly to discuss the pope’s visit to the Philippines.

Palo Archbishop John Du, said the papal visit would boost the morale of ‘Yolanda’ (super typhoon Haiyan) survivors, especially those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

He said the typhoon survivors in Leyte await the pope’s visit and anticipate eagerly Pope Francis’ arrival in their province.

“The pope’s visit is another big blessing. We are happy for the blessing that come to us– the pope is coming, the people’s solidarity and the overwhelming generosity of the people,” Du said.

According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which reports worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2011, the increase in the number of Catholics in Africa (4.3 percent) and Asia (2 percent) greatly outpaced their regions’ population growth, which was 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.



Catholic bishops launch preparations for Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka –

Bishops of Sri Lanka met with priests and the apostolic nuncio in Colombo on June 17 to begin preparations for the announced visit of Pope Francis to their country in January, a priest reported on the official website of the Archdiocese of Colombo.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka and nuncio Archbishop Nguyen Van Tot presided at the Central Committee Meeting at the Bishops’ Conference hall, Borella, Colombo, reported Fr.Sunil De Silva. 

Bishops and priests at the meeting reportedly discussed possible sites for papal visits and formed committees that would prepare for Pope Francis’ visit next year. 

Cardinal Ranjith is cited as saying he had received information saying the “tentative dates” of the pope’s visit to Sri Lanka would be on January 13, 14 and 15, 2015. A delegation from the Vatican is reportedly expected to arrive to discuss the papal visit.

See the meeting in pictures via the Archdiocese of Colombo

Pope Francis also told a news conference during his flight from the Holy Land to Rome in May he would visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January.

Philippines Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato also told Manila reporters last week after a press conference on the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress that a representative from the Vatican would be arriving around the time of this July’s plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to discuss arrangements for Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines after his trip to Sri Lanka.

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato answers reporters at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress press con in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros on June 10, 2014 - NJ Viehland Photos

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato answers reporters at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress press con in Arzobispado de Manila, Intramuros on June 10, 2014 – NJ Viehland Photos





Sri Lanka bishops’ conference president: Pope Francis to visit Jan. 13-15

Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

Archdiocese of Colombo website photo

Archdiocese of Colombo website, citing remarks attributed to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, reports that Pope Francis is expected to visit Sri Lanka on Jan. 13, 14 and 15. 

The pope has announced he would visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January, but did not give the exact dates.

Read the full Archdiocese of Colombo report 

 Related reports

Gifts Sri Lanka bishops asked from Pope Francis

Secularism and fundamentalism demean religious heroism – Sri Lanka cardinal at UNESCO


Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, addressing guests at the May 21 kick-off of events commemorating the birthday of Buddha in France said he was delighted to be the cardinal in a country where 74 percent of the population is Buddhist.

There are also about 1.2 million Catholics among Sri Lanka’s population today (about 6 percent), and there are Hindu and Muslim minorities. 

Cardinal Ranjith described relations of Sri Lanka’s people of different faiths as “a long standing amity.” However, secularism and fundamentalism “demean the supreme value of religious heroism which can help humanity to achieve true nobility, freedom from self and unity,” the cardinal said at the celebration of the festival called Vesak.

The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka faces the challenge to work towards national reconciliation and peace after a 26 year war with ethnic Tamil people ended in 2009 with accusations of human rights violations by both sides leaving tens of thousands of civilians dead.

Cardinal Ranjith who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka was among “distinguished” guests at the inauguration organized by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization  (UNESCO) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in France to commemorate Vesak at UNESCO in Paris. 

Sri Lanka First Lady Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa also addressed the gathering centered on the theme “Interfaith and Intercultural Awareness towards Peace.” Guests included a delegation of government officials, Buddhist leaders and priests from around the world.

To read the full report, view photos click First Lady inaugurates series of events to mark Vesak at UNESCO