01/16/2012, 00.00
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300 years since the birth of Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
A year of celebrations ends. Christians of the Diocese of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Anuradhapura, Chilaw, Kurunegala and Badulla (where the priest carried out his mission) pray for his cause for canonization.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - A year of celebrations to commemorate the third centenary of the birth of Blessed Father Joseph Vaz, "the Apostle of Ceylon" has drawn to a close. The Diocese of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Anuradhapura, Chilaw, Kurunegala, Badulla - where the blessed carried out his mission - hailed the end of the jubilee with a Mass, asking the faithful to pray for the canonization cause of Fr . Vaz.

Bishop Maxwell Silva, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Colombo, presided at the Eucharist in the Church of Infant Jesus of Kalamulla. During the celebration, the faithful received a booklet in Sinhala, Tamil and English that tells the mission of Fr Vaz. The Diocese of Kandy - where the priest died in 1711 - hosted the Mass in the National Shrine of Ampitiya, dedicated to the blessed.

Already, on August 8, 2011 Mgr. Vianney Fernando, president of the Secretariat in charge of the canonization process of the Blessed, had launched an appeal for funds to the cause, which is at a “critical” stage of the process.

Fr. Joseph Vaz, "the apostle of Sri Lanka", was born April 21, 1651 in Goa, India. Ordained a priest in 1676, he began his mission to Ceylon in 1687, during the period in which the Dutch colonists (Calvinist) forbade Catholic priests to set foot on the island. Fr. Vaz remained in Ceylon until his death in 1711. Beatified by John Paul II in 1995, the apostle of Sri Lanka is remembered for having translated the Gospel into Tamil and Sinhalese.
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