Colombo (AsiaNews) - The prayers, blessings and paternal guidance of Pope Francis "will help us to try and find a true reconciliation of the heart, the strength to ask for forgiveness and to forgive and forget the sad past. All to build bridges of understanding between the parties injured in the bitter conflict": said Card. Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo and President of the Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, at the end of the ceremony of canonization of Joseph Vaz (14 January) addressing words of thanks to the Pope.
Speaking on behalf of all Sri Lankans, and Catholics in particular, the cardinal pointed out that "over and above the gift of your presence on this soil, you have given us the gift of a Saint: Saint Joseph Vaz. That gift make us truly happy, for Sri Lanka has now its own saint, the pride of Goa and God's precious gem for Sri Lanka".
"In the recent past - said the prelate - we shed many tears because of the internal conflict that has caused so many casualties, and drained our resources. We are still struggling to raise ourselves from that sad past and begin a time of true reconciliation, peace and progress for our people. The path is difficult. We need your prayers and blessings, as well as your fatherly guidance".
"We ask you to help us in this quest - he added - for a true healing of hearts, the strength to ask pardon from each other for the senseless violence unleashed then, to forgive and forget that sad past and to arrive at a process of a give and take that will build bridges of understanding between the parties hurt in the conflict".
"Holy Father - concluded Card. Ranjith - our nation blessed by the teachings of the great world religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity does possess the moral and spiritual strength and nobility needed to generate such peace but we will all need to make that leap towards each other with a genuine spirit of reconciliation, trust and a sense of reciprocity".