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* Pope urges Sri Lanka to heal wounds, accepts invitation to visit country
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 09:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 08, Vatican City: Pope Francis on Saturday while accepting an invitation extended to him by Sri Lanka's cardinal, Malcolm Ranjith to visit Sri Lanka, has urged Sri Lanka to "heal wounds" by cooperating with "yesterday's enemies".

A group of Sri Lankan Catholic community living in Italy met the pontiff following the mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Saturday and the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has invited Pope Francis to visit the island during the occasion.

The group led by the Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had come to Rome on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the consecration of the Church in Sri Lanka to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In his address to the pilgrims, Pope Francis greeted Cardinal Ranjith, and thanked him for the invitation to visit Sri Lanka, the Vatican Radio reported.

"I welcome this invitation," the Pope has said, "and I think the Lord will grant us the grace."

" Unfortunately, many tears have been shed in recent years, on account of the internal conflict which caused so many victims and so much damage," the Pope has said referring to the island's three-decade long war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists.

He has said that it is not easy to "heal the wounds and cooperate with yesterday's enemy to build tomorrow together." but emphasized that it is the only path that "gives hope for the future, hope for development and hope for peace."

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa last August wrote to Pope Francis extending an invitation to visit Sri Lanka.

No time frame has been announced for the Pope to visit Sri Lanka but he is likely to visit South Korea this summer, Vatican has said.

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