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Pope Francis to Visit Sri Lanka
Update on:04-Jan-2014

Pope Francis is expected to visit Sri Lanka in the first half of this year to open South Asia’s largest university for theological studies.

The island nation will become the first destination in Asia for Pope Francis, who took over the mantle from Pope Benedict XVI on March 13, 2013.

The Pope, who hails from Argentina, “the other end of the world,” has accepted an invitation from Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo and head of the Catholic Church Sri Lanka, Church sources said.

The University for Theological Studies has been constructed in Bolawalana, Negombo, near Colombo, the national capital.

The new university is considered the largest of its kind in South Asia.

The Pope’s visit is to take place either at the end of February or in the month of March and the exact dates are expected to be announced by the Vatican in the near future.

The university has been put up according to a proposal by Pope Benedict XVI. It will offer a general academic degree in theological studies.

This is the third time a Pope will visit Sri Lanka. Pope Paul VI visited Sri Lanka in 1970, while Pope John Paul II visited the island in 1995 to preside over the religious rites in the beatification of Sri Lankan missionary Fr. Joseph Vaz. Sri Lanka and the Holy See established formal diplomatic relations in 1976.

Pope Francis is also expected to visit neighboring India in December to attend the decennial exposition of St Francis Xavier’s relics kept in Bom Jesu Church in Old Goa.



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