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Pope gives Sri Lanka its first Catholic saint during Asia tour

An estimated one million people join Pope Francis at an open air Mass in Sri Lanka as part of papal visit to Asia.

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Pope gives Sri Lanka its first Catholic saint during Asia tour

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Pope Francis celebrated an open air Mass for an estimated one million worshippers on day two of his trip to Sri Lanka.

It’s the first time a pope has visited the country since the end of the war in 2009 that saw the army and rebels accused of atrocities.

Francis’s message is one of religious tolerance.

Catholics make up about seven percent of Sri Lanka’s population while 10 times as many follow Buddhism. Thirteen percent are Hindus and 10 percent are Muslims.

Wednesday’s highlight came when he canonised the country’s first saint – the 17th-century missionary
Joseph Vaz.

It’s an example of Francis’s no-nonsense approach to creating saints in order to meet the needs of the flock for new holy figures. Some say Vaz does not qualify because the Church has not attributed two miracles to him.

The Pope's visit to Sri Lanka is part of a six-day tour of Asia. On day three he will travel to the Philippines.