Father Lombardi Discusses Highlights of Pope's Visit to Sri Lanka

Vatican Spokesman Says Pontiff Seemed Very Happy, Visibly at Ease

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

As Francis’ whirlwind visit to Sri Lanka drew to a close, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, has reflected on what he believes are the highlights of the second day of the Pope’s visit there.

According to Vatican Radio, Fr. Lombardi responded last night in Sri Lanka to questions posed to him by Jesuit Fr. Louis Jerome and gave his personal reaction.

Pope Francis is a man who believes in “personal encounters,” the spokesman stressed, noting how Francis accomplished a further concrete sign of dialogue on Wednesday evening by visiting a Buddhist Temple.

The Canonization Mass of 17th century Oratorian Father St. Joseph Vaz, the press office director said, was the most important event of the day at a pastoral level.

“Father Vaz,” he said, “is a model of evangelization, who served the poor, the sick and more broadly healed the wounds of the people.”

Fr. Lombardi reflected on how refreshing it was to see the Catholics present partaking and respecting the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Giving his personal point of view, Fr. Lombardi reflected that the second moment of the day at the Marian Shrine of Madhu was the most touching of the events on Tuesday. Attended by more than 300,000 people, it was a moment of prayerful devotion where the Pope seemed visibly at ease and very happy.

Fr. Lombardi noted the Pope’s happiness could be also attributed to his being in this Marian shrine. The Mother of God, he added, is very near to Francis’ heart.

During this celebration attended by Sri Lankans from various language groups, the overall impression, Fr. Lombardi said, was one of unity and harmony.

The presence there of Buddhist monks, he added, enhanced the overall atmosphere of sincere reconciliation and love.

Inherent in all the speeches or homilies of the Holy Father in Sri Lanka, the Vatican spokesman concluded, were messages of conversion and forgiveness, which applied not only for the Church, but to society at large on the island nation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation