Pope Francis has 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, reports Reuters/AFP in ABC Online.
On Saturday, 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.'
Pope Francis also spoke of the need to heal wounds from Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009. 'Your homeland is called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, on account of its natural beauty and its shape. They say that the pearl is formed from the tears of the oyster,' he said.
'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.'
An estimated 6 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population are Roman Catholic.