pope francis brazilAddressing the first official media conference at Archbishop’s House,  Colombo to announce the arrival of the Pope to Sri Lanka in January 2015, Cardinal Malcom Ranjith  said that His Holiness the Pope will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) at 9 a.m. on January 13 2015.

He said the Pope would then be taken in a motorcade via the old Negombo road to Colombo, and the faithful are invited to gather by the roadside to welcome him and would travel in an open vehicle. He said the Pope after a brief stop at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Pope would meet with the Bishops of Sri Lanka at lunch at Archbishop’s House.

He said His Holiness Pope Francis would pay a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at President’s House at 4.45pm. He said the President would issue a commemorative stamp at this occasion to mark the event. The Pope would then participate in an Inter religious meeting at the BMICH attended by religious leaders, Cardinal Ranjith said. His Holiness Pope Francis would celebrate Mass at Galle Face Green at 8.30 am on January 14 2015,

Cardinal Malcom invited ed the public to attend the and receive spiritual blessings, adding that transport and other facilities would be provided by the government. He said it has been proposed to canonize Blessed Joseph Vaz to raise him to the level of a Saint at this occasion.

The Pope would thereafter travel to Madu in a special helicopter to the church of Our Lady of Madhu at 3.30 pm. He said His Holiness Pope Francis would leave Sri Lanka at 9 am on January 15 for Manila, The Philippines.

Pope Francis will be the third Pope to visit Sri Lanka,” the Archbishop said. Pope Paul VI made a brief visit in 1970, and Pope John Paul II made a one day visit to the island in 1995.,

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