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Pope encourages Sri Lanka’s bishops to work for unity

Catholic World News - May 05, 2014

Five years after the conclusion of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Pope Francis encouraged the bishops of the South Asian island nation to evangelize and promote unity.

The war, fought between the Sinhalese and Tamil rebels, claimed at least 60,000 lives between 1983 and 2009.

“Our faith and the gifts we have received cannot be stored away, but are meant to be freely shared and to find expression in our daily lives,” Pope Francis said in a May 3 address. “As the country seeks to come together and heal, the Church is uniquely positioned to provide a living image of unity in the faith as she is blessed to count both Sinhalese and Tamil among her number.”

The Pontiff praised the Church in Sri Lanka for its charitable work, commitment to ecumenical and religious dialogue, its “many priestly vocations,” and the bishops’ efforts to minister to families.

The nation of 21.7 million is 69% Buddhist, 8% Muslim, 7% Hindu, and 7% Catholic.

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