Colombo (AsiaNews) – Great celebrations were held on Sunday for the church dedicated to St Francis Xavier in Wewala, a Christian village where St Joseph Vaz* carried out his evangelisation.
Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, led the mass, attended by many worshippers. In his address, the prelate mentioned that the local Christian presence goes back 400 years.
After describing the salient stages of the evangelisation by St Francis Xavier, he called on Catholics to follow his example.
Card Ranjith explained that St Francis Xavier left all his wealth, and on 15 March 1540 departed from Lisbon to become a missionary in India.
On 6 May 1542, he reached what is now the State of Goa and from there he travelled to Sri Lanka, where he began to preach in the Murukkan area.
Despite the hardships, "he sought to change people's lives through God".
"Nowadays God makes many ordinary people holy,” the cardinal noted. “Just think of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an ordinary woman who rendered a wonderful service to the Lord. Or Pope John Paul II, who came to our land and touched our soil."
"Why does God choose and bless as holy people of different origins? Because they are used by God to show his power and are sent to us as our saviors,” he said.
"The task of every Christian must be his own liberation, as well as the liberation of others,” the prelate added. “Christianity is a religion of love. We must share this love with others. We must work for the liberation of others ".
Finally, for Card Ranjith, "the first responsibility of our Christian life is to become the saviours of our brothers and sisters and to practice the faith as true followers of Jesus. This enables others to see as Christians. I pray for you on this anniversary."
* St Joseph Vaz is venerated as the Apostle of Sri Lanka and was canonised by Pope Francis during his pastoral visit to Sri Lanka in 2015.