Home > News > World
Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 1:30:01 AM
Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 1:30:59 AM
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Saturday told Sri Lankans living in Italy that he hoped to take up an invitation to visit their country, where the wounds of civil war still needed to heal.
The Pope met a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims, led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, who proffered the invitation.
He responded: "I thank Cardinal Ranjith for the invitation to visit Sri Lanka. I welcome this invitation and I think the Lord will grant us the grace."
He also spoke of the need to heal wounds from Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009.
"Unfortunately, many tears have been shed in recent years, on account of the internal conflict which caused so many victims and so much damage," Francis said, according to comments released by the Vatican.
"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, hope for development and hope for peace."
An estimated 6 percent of the country's population are Roman Catholic.
The Vatican sees Asia as a region of growth for Catholicism. It has previously indicated that Francis is planning to visit South Korea this summer in what would be his first visit to the Asian continent.
The probability of this visit was bolstered on Saturday, when the Vatican announced Francis had approved 124 Koreans killed for their faith in past centuries to be officially recognised as martyrs, a step on the way to sainthood.
It was unclear whether Francis would visit South Korea and Sri Lanka on a single trip to the region. The Vatican previously said possible visits to the Philippines and Sri Lanka would not take place in 2014.
(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Stephen Powell)
Pope Francis may make South Korea his first Asia visit in August
Pope to visit Middle East in May, meet Orthodox head
Pope to visit Turkey in November, first trip to a Muslim nation
Pope says first trip in Europe will be to Albania
Pope and former pope meet ahead of Brazil trip
Insight - Secular France moves to confront jihadism after slow start
Far-left politician a new threat to Merkel?
Croatia urges EU to pressure Serbia over freed war crimes suspect
NATO commander says Russian forces are still in east Ukraine
Exclusive - Libya's rival oil minister wants to attend OPEC meeting
Iran parliament ends standoff with Rouhani, approves higher ed minister
Showcase of Asean talents
Oscar Isaac to play ‘X-Men’ villain Apocalypse
Journalist phone records given to UK police in data breach
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)