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Pope urges reconciliation in Sri Lanka, hints at a papal visit

February 10, 2014

Pope Francis hinted at the prospect of a papal visit to Sri Lanka, as he met on February 8 with a group of pilgrims from the island nation.

The Sri Lankan pilgrims, led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, were in Rome to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their nation’s consecration to the Virgin Mary. Greeting them, the Pope thanked Cardinal Ranjith for inviting him to visit, and said “I think the Lord wil grant us this grace.” The Pope is expected to visit the Philippines in 2015, and could make Sri Lanka a stop on that trip.

Speaking about the country’s long and bloody civil war, the Pope told the pilgrims:

Your homeland is called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, on account of its natural beauty and its shape”, he continued. “They say that the pearl is formed from the tears of the oyster. Unfortunately, many tears have been shed in recent years, on account of the internal conflict which caused so many victims and so much damage. It is not easy, I know, to heal the wounds and cooperate with yesterday’s enemy to build tomorrow together, but it is the only path that gives hope for the future, for development and for peace.


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