May 27, Colombo: Pope Francis on Monday has confirmed that he will visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January next year for two days but gave no definite dates and details.
During an inflight news conference aboard the papal flight on his return from Jerusalem to Rome, the pope announced that he plans to visit the Philippines and Sri Lanka in January Catholic News Service reported.
Early this year Pope Francis accepted an invitation from Cardinal, Malcolm Ranjith to visit Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa last August wrote to Pope Francis extending an invitation to visit Sri Lanka. The invitation came days after Pope Francis, at a press conference, indicated that he may consider a visit to Sri Lanka as a part of an Asian tour.
Sri Lanka and the Holy See established formal diplomatic relations in 1976. Pope Paul VI visited Sri Lanka in 1970, and Pope John Paul II visited the island in 1995 to preside over the religious rites in the Beatification of Sri Lankan missionary Fr. Joseph Vaz.