Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena met on Wednesday with a delegation of Asian bishops and thanked them for the immense contribution made by the Catholic Church to socially uplift and help the poor and disadvantaged of Sri Lanka.
'It is indeed a blessing to Sri
Lanka having such high and learned leaders to lead not only the
Catholics but also the people in Sri Lanka,” the president said.
The bishops are on the island for the 11th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
More than 140 delegates from 40 countries came for the occasion.
Sri Lankan government contributed to the organisation of the event with
some 10 million rupees, or about US$ 70,000.
The president met Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and
president of the FABC, as well as Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of
Colombo, and Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, apostolic nuncio to Sri
“Sri Lanka is a nation of different religions and diverse cultures
and has a tradition going back several centuries,” Sirisena said. “We
have a closer understanding and respect for each other’s culture,
customs, traditions and values.”
The president stressed the importance of meeting the bishops in a
country like Sri Lanka where peace and harmony reign.
"If you travel
from North to South and East to West you will come across places of
religious worship of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians in all
the villages and cities,” he said.
With respect to the conference’s theme, ‘The Asian Catholic Family:
Domestic Church of the Poor on a Mission of Mercy’, Sirisena said, “I
appreciate the work of the Catholic Church in the promotion of the
social and religious life of the people”.