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* President felicitates Sri Lanka's new cardinal
Tue, Dec 7, 2010, 10:42 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa felicitated newly ordained Cardinal Dr. Malcolm Ranjith in a state reception held yesterday at the BMICH in Colombo.

President Rajapaksa felicitating the new Cardinal said his service to protect the country's dignity during the time Sri Lanka was engulfed in a war with a terrorist organization was laudable.

Addressing the gathering the new Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith commended the President's leadership and condemned the attempts by various elements to tarnish the country's image internationally regardless of perpetrators of such activities.

A large number of distinguished guests including former President Chandrika Kumaranatunga, ministers, parliamentarians, Maha Sangha, members of National Christian Council, Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando, Archbishop Emeritus Dr Oswald Gomis and Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Archbishop Joseph Spiteri were present at the felicitation ceremony.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith received his red biretta from Pope Benedict XVI during the Consistory Ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica on November 20 when the Pope installed 24 new Roman Catholic cardinals from around the world.

Twenty of the new cardinals including Malcolm Ranjith are under age 80 making them eligible to be Pope's successor to the 1.5 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

The 63-year-old Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith was born in Polgahawela, Sri Lanka. He is the second cardinal of the Colombo, Sri Lanka archdiocese. The first was Thomas Cooray who was elevated to cardinal in 1965.

(Pictures by Chandana Perera)

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