Tamil Diplomat

Vatican team in Lanka on Friday

A Vatican advance team is due to arrive in Colombo on Friday for the final preparations prior to the arrival of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka.

On the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, His Holiness Pope Francis will pay a State Visit to Sri Lanka from 13th to 15th January 2015. The External Affairs Ministry said that the Government and people of Sri Lanka are looking forward to warmly welcoming His Holiness and his delegation.

All arrangements for the visit are in place and the required constructions are progressing on schedule including the altar at Galle Face Green where the Special Mass and the canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz, which will take place on Wednesday 14thJanuary, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement today.

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith reiterating the confirmation of the Papal visit as scheduled, has also outlined the extensive arrangements underway which will also include a liturgical ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu and an inter-faith meeting with leaders of all major religions in Sri Lanka at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. His Holiness will also pray at the Chapel of Our Lady of Lanka in Bolawalana, Negombo.

The Ministry of Postal Services and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will issue a special commemorative stamp and coin on the occasion of this landmark visit.

Sri Lanka will be the second Asian country to be visited by His Holiness Pope Francis and his first destination on the forthcoming apostolic voyage to Asia.