Countdown begins for Pope's visit
The Catholic church began the 100-day countdown and preparations for
the visit of Pope Francis from January 13-16 for the canonisation of
Blessed Joseph Vaz, the patron saint of Sri Lanka.
The run-up to the Papal visit comprises spiritual and material
preparations launched by the Catholic church at a special mass
celebrated at the Tewatte Basilica last week.
Head of the Social Media Committee for the visit of Pope Francis Rev.
Fr. Cyril Gamini said that spiritual preparations include a special
prayer to be recited at all churches and homes for the success of the
"A special prayer card has been distributed to all parishes to be
recited at the end of every mass.
A spiritual bouquet by children will be presented to the Holy Father
during the mass at the Galle Face Green. A program for the preparation
of the bouquet has been launched through Catechism schools to enlist the
participation of all children in parishes" Fr. Gamini said.
The prayer committee for the Holy Father's visit has organised a holy
hour to be made at every church and home during the preparation for the
'We expect a large number of people on the eve of January 13 at the
Galle Face Green for prayer service in preparation for the canonisation
of Joseph Vaz.
"Sanitation facilities and food will be provided for visitors for the
program at the Galle Face Green on January 14. Arrangements also have
been made for confessions", he said.Material preparations comprise
decorations along the road, setting the stage for the mass at the Galle
Face Green and decorating the Madhu Shrine where the Holy Father will
bless the devotees with the statue of Our Lady of Madhu on January 14
Fr. Gamini said that special arrangements have been made for the
media ahead of the visit. The 100-day media campaign has been launched
to create awareness of the Papal visit and the canonisation.
"We expect around 80 Vatican accredited journalists who will
accompany the Holy Father. We hope to have around 800 media personnel
including journalists from India as Blessed Joseph Vaz is an Indian
Oratorian missionary. The 24-hour main press centre will be set up at
the Galle Face Hotel from January 12-16 to provide live coverage of the
canonisation", Fr. Gamini said.
Pope Francis announced the conclusion of the canonisation process of
Joseph Vaz, a zealous Catholic priest who obeyed the call of God to save
Catholics who were persecuted by the Dutch. Pope Francis who was
appointed the 266 head of the Catholic church is popular for his
simplicity and love for the poor.