Who is Sri Lanka’s first Saint?
One of the highlights of Pope Francis’ trip to Sri Lanka will be the canonization of Joseph Vaz, the country’s first Saint.
He was born in India in 1651. After being ordained a priest, he traveled to Sri Lanka. During the XVII and XVIII century, the Dutch controlled the island and imposed their confession, which was Calvinism. Under those circumstances, Vaz helped preached to Catholics who were actively being persecuted.
FR. PRASAD HARSHAN
Sri Lankan Priest
“He was a wonderful sign of reconciliation, a sign of love, a sign of peace. God is going to give him back to us, as our first Saint. At this junction. Pope Francis is going to give that gift to us in our own land. I have no words to express the joy.”
Blessed Joseph Vaz learned the native languages of the island and had a very good relationship with the country’s spiritual leaders. He is seen as an example of reconciliation in the country, severely divided by a 25 year long civil war.