‘Deeply moved by great number of Sri Lankans who greeted me’ His Holiness Pope Francis, recollecting his visit to Sri Lanka in January 2015, said he was deeply moved by the great number of Sri Lankans who came out to greet him at the airport and along the road to Colombo, uniting across religions and cultures.
He made this comment on Friday welcoming the members of the Organising Committee for his Pastoral Visit to Sri Lanka back in 2015.
“The possibility of visiting your country was a special grace for me, at a moment when, after years of strife and suffering, the nation was striving for reconciliation and healing,” he noted.
Recalling the special arrangements made to welcome him, Pope Francis said, “I gladly welcome you here; and even though I would like our visitors to feel at home, I cannot quite equal the forty elephants that greeted me on the road from the airport to Colombo!” “I was struck also by the moving and beautiful celebration of the canonization of Saint Joseph Vaz, the great missionary to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, surely the high point of our time together, as well as by the vast crowds that gathered prayerfully around the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, symbol of refuge and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,” he remarked. “Your presence here today has brought something of Sri Lanka’s fragrant air to our house, and so reminds us of the many divine graces we experienced together in your country.
Entrusting Sri Lanka’s people and her leaders to the intercession of Our Lady of Madhu, I willingly invoke God’s blessing upon you, your families and all who cooperated with you in the planning of this Visit, as a pledge of peace and strength in the Lord,” he said.