I fully appreciate the significant contribution made by the Sri Lankan migrant community in Italy towards the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa in a message on the occasion of the Pilgrimage of the Sri Lankan Migrant Community in Italy to the Holy See invited Sri Lankan migrants to join hands with your brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka to pray for our country, to be able to overcome the many challenges we face and usher in an era of peace and prosperity for all.
Full text of the message
I am pleased to learn that for the first time the Sri Lankan migrant community in Italy will gather as a National Group at St Peter’s Basilica on 8th February, to participate in a special Holy Mass conducted by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and the Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka, to mark the 66th Anniversary of Independence and the feast of Our Lady of Lanka. I am also glad to learn that His Holiness Pope Francis has honoured Sri Lanka by granting an audience for a blessing to them at the conclusion of this Holy Mass.
It is indeed an honour to extend my cordial greetings to His Holiness Pope Francis on this occasion, and appreciate the warm goodwill and concern for Sri Lanka of His Holiness. Our two States enjoy cordial and strong relations, and my people and I look forward to welcoming His Holiness to Sri Lanka in the near future.
I wish to take this opportunity to warmly greet the Sri Lankan community in Italy who have gathered at St Peter’s Basilica today. Although I am unable to join you in person on this special occasion, I have designated Hon. Dayasritha Tissera, Minister of State Resources & Enterprise Development and Hon. Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, Deputy Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources and His Excellency RavinathaAryasinha, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Holy See, to represent me and participate in the Holy Mass.
In my address to the nation on the occasion of the 66th Anniversary of our Independence, I stated that “when the Mahinda Chinthana was endorsed by the people of this country in 2005 to usher in an honourable peace to our motherland, the people of Sri Lanka did not have the freedom to travel to one third of the country. The terrorists were in forceful occupation of two thirds of the coastline of the country. Not only the unity of the country, but also the economy was almost in its deathbed. People in our country who belong to all religions and speak different languages are moving together in unity and strength towards reconciliation and development”. I urge you, as patriotic Sri Lankans, to share this message with friends of our country at this time when interested parties are attempting to tarnish the image of our country.
I fully appreciate the significant contribution made by the Sri Lankan migrant community in Italy towards the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka and invite you to join hands with your brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka to pray for our country, to be able to overcome the many challenges we face and usher in an era of peace and prosperity for all.