Bishop Cletus Chandrasiri Perera's Welcoming Address at Interreligious Meeting

“It is no doubt a sacred and unique event which goes down in the history of Sri Lanka, and particularly in the history of the Catholic Church.”

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Here is the address by Bishop Cletus Chandrasiri Perera of Ratnapura, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee, during the Opening of the Interreligious Meeting with Pope Francis at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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In all humility, I stand before you as the Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of this event  to extend  a very  warm and cordial welcome  to all those who are present, in response to our invitation, at this lnterreligious and Ecumenical Gathering, held in the context of the pilgrimage of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to Sri Lanka.

On behalf of all present here, it is my greatest honor and privilege to welcome Your Holiness, the Universal Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Church into this distinguished gathering, organized in your honor. 

Most Holy Father, in reality, Sri Lanka is a multi-religious society, the vast majority of the people being the adherents of Buddhism. It is a singular honor and a joy, granted to all of us to welcome Your Holiness into this Interreligious and Ecumenical Gathering this evening, to greet Your Holiness and to be greeted and blessed by Your Holiness. It is no doubt a sacred and unique event which goes down in the history of Sri Lanka, and particularly in the history of the Catholic Church.

Most Holy Father, all right-thinking people clearly observe that, within the short period of your Pontificate, you have impressed the world society and have captured the hearts of many millions of people of various religious and ethnic denominations. I dare say, you have challenged us by your unassuming,un-triumphalistic, simple and humble lifestyle, emulating the example of Jesus Christ our loving Savior, of many saints and particularly of your own patron saint, St Francis of Assisi. It is indeed a singular grace and a privilege to have Your Holiness, present with us on this historical occasion. Secondly, I wish to extend respectfully a very cordial and warm welcome to His Excellency, the Apostolic Nuncio for Sri Lanka, to His Eminence, the Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, their Excellencies; the Archbishops and the Bishops, the Most Reverend Heads of the Churches of the National Christian Council and all the Clergy and Religious present here.

Next  I wish to extend a very respectful and cordial welcome to the most Venerable Mahanayake Theros of various Nikayas, the Most Reverend Anunayake Theros, the  Most Reverend Sanganayake Theros, the members of the Maha Sangha, the Leadership and representatives of the Hindu and  Islam  Religions and all the others who are present here.

We all are indeed honored and edified by your graceful presence. We thank you very sincerely for your positive response to our invitation to participate in this very important gathering, held in honor of our Holy Father, Pope Francis in the context of his pilgrimage to Sri Lanka.

May God bless you all.

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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