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Pope calls for reconciliation

2014 Feb 12

Pope Francis today called for reconciliation among all people in Sri Lanka saying it is the only way to ensure a better future for all.

“Unfortunately, many tears have been shed in recent years, on account of the internal conflict which caused so many victims and so much damage. 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, for development and for peace,” the Pope said at a meeting with a group of Sri Lankan Catholics at the Vatican.

For this reason, said the Pope, I assure you that you have a particular place in my prayer. I ask the Lord to grant you the gift of peace and reconciliation, and to help you in your effort to ensure a better future for all who live in Sri Lanka.

The group was led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo. The group is on pilgrimage to Rome to render homage to Our Lady, at the end of the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the consecration to her of the Church in Sri Lanka.

He told them ‘do not hesitate to turn to her for every need, especially when the burden of life with all its problems makes itself felt.’

Recalling the consecration of Sri Lanka, the Pope said, ‘seventy-five years ago, the dark clouds of what would be the second world conflict were thickening in the skies and the faithful, guided by a sure intuition of faith, entrusted themselves to Our Lady, who always defends her children from dangers. In 1940, in the dramatic circumstances of the war, the Archbishop of Colombo, Jean-Marie Masson, of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, made a vow to build a shrine in honour of Our Lady if the island were preserved from foreign invasion. So it came about, and after the end of the war the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Lanka at Tewatte was built, and was consecrated forty years ago.

Your homeland is called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, continued Pope Francis, on account of its natural beauty and its shape. They say that the pearl is formed from the tears of the oyster.

I entrust you to the maternal intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Lanka. I ask you to pray for me and from my heart I bless you, conclude Pope Francis.

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