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.
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 Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith blessed thousands of pilgrims who gathered from various parts of the island for the August festival on 15 August 2014, at the Madhu shrine. It was the first time the arrival of the Pontiff was officially announced.
During his address, Bishop Joseph said Pope Francis will arrive in Colombo on 13 January 2015 and would travel to the Madhu shrine the next day.
“Pope Francis will be the first Pope to travel out of Colombo whereas other Pontiffs confined themselves only to Colombo when they visited Sri Lanka in the past. The Pope is expected to interact with the war widows, disabled persons and orphans,” Bishop Joseph said.