VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When civil strife, conflict and bloodshed have pitted people of different ethnic groups against one another, reconciliation is particularly difficult, but it’s still the only way to ensure a better future for all, Pope Francis told a large group of Sri Lankan pilgrims.
“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,” the pope said Feb. 8 during a meeting with an estimated 12,000 Sri Lankan pilgrims.
From 1983 to 2009, Sri Lanka was involved in a bloody internal conflict. Rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam carried out a violent campaign seeking autonomy for the Tamil majority in areas north and east of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese make up the majority of the country’s 20 million inhabitants.
Pope Francis joined the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica after Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo celebrated Mass. The cardinal invited Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka, to which the pope responded, “I welcome this invitation and believe the Lord will give me the grace to do so.”
Cardinal Ranjith had told the pope that the more fortunate among the pilgrims work as housekeepers, caregivers or factory workers in Italy. The others, he said, have part-time jobs or no work at all; “many live in harsh and difficult conditions.”
Pope Francis asked the pilgrims, who were marking the 75th anniversary of the consecration of their country to Mary, to share with him some of their songs. The Tamil- and Sinhalese-language choirs and dancers were happy to comply.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: New Latin American presidents face challenges pope has highlighted
NEXT: Mass, even with the pope, isn’t a tourist activity; it’s God’s time
Share this story