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His Holiness Pope Francis arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport and was greeted by President Maithripala Sirisena and His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith a short while ago.

The Pope will today start a highly anticipated six-day visit to Asia that will also take him to the Philippines. He will be in Sri Lanka from January 13-15, 2015.

Pope Francis stepped off an Alitalia plane shortly after 9 a.m. and was greeted first by a young boy and a girl who gave him a large garland of yellow and white flowers. He then walked on a long red carpet as colorful Sri Lankan dancers performed on both sides, accompanied by rhythmic drumming.

Even before his arrival hundreds of people were waiting on the road just outside the airport in Colombo to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. Families were sitting on mats they had set out, sipping occasionally from water bottles.

The visit is taking place following an invitation extended to Pope Francis by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year.

His Holiness will also preside over the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, as the first Saint of Sri Lanka.
Pope Francis is the third leader of the worldwide Catholic Church to visit the island nation after Pope Paul VI and Pope Saint John Paul II visited Sri Lanka in 1970 and 1995.



Monday, January 12, 2015

19:00 - Departure from the Airport of Rome/Fiumicino to Colombo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

09:00 - Arrival at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake


13:15 - MEETING with the Bishops of SRI LANKA at the Archbishop’s Hose, Colombo - 08

17:00 - COURTESY VISIT to the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the President’s House.

18:15 - INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING in the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) Colombo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

08:30 - Celebration of Holy Eucharist and Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Galle Face Green


14:00 - Departure to Madhu Shrine

15:30 - MARIAN PRAYER at the Shrine of our Lady of Rosary of Madhu

16:45 - Departure to Colombo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

08:15 - Visit to the Chapel of the “Benedict XVI Cultural Institute” at Bolawalana

08:45 - Farewell ceremony at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake

09:00 - Departure from Colombo to Manila