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Sri Lanka’s first Saint

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Pope Francis proclaimed The Apostle of Ceylon Joseph Vaz a Saint at a special mass held at Galle Face Green in Colombo on January 14.

Joseph Vaz became the first Catholic Saint of Sri Lanka. As he was born in Goa, he can also be named as the first Catholic Saint from Goa.

Born on April 21, 1651, in Benaulim (Goa, Portuguese India) Vaz was an Oratorian priest and missionary in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka). He entered Ceylon during the Dutch occupation of its coastal areas, when Calvinism had been imposed as the official religion. He travelled throughout the island bringing the Eucharist and the sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. Later in his mission, he found shelter in the Kingdom of Kandy where he was able to work freely. By the time of his death, Vaz had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church on the island.


He died on January 16, 1711, in Kandy.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 January 2015 17:42

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