VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has told Sri Lankans living in Italy that he hoped to take up an invitation to visit their country, where the wounds of civil war still needed to heal.
The Pope met a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims, led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, who proffered the invitation.
He responded: “I thank Cardinal Ranjith for the invitation to visit Sri Lanka. I welcome this invitation and I think the Lord will grant us the grace.”
He also spoke of the need to heal wounds from Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, which ended in 2009.
“Unfortunately, many tears have been shed in recent years, on account of the internal conflict which caused so many victims and so much damage,” Pope Francis said, according to comments released by the Vatican.
“It is not easy, I know, to heal the wounds and cooperate with yesterday’s enemy to build tomorrow together, but it is the only path that gives hope for the future, hope for development and hope for peace.”
The Vatican has previously indicated that Francis is planning to visit South Korea this summer in what would be his first visit to the Asian continent.
It was unclear whether Francis would visit South Korea and Sri Lanka on a single trip to the region.
The Vatican previously said possible visits to the Philippines and Sri Lanka would not take place in 2014.