Speed Reads

His Holiness

Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka next year, may name the country's first saint

Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka next year, Colombo's archbishop announced Friday.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said that Pope Francis may declare Blessed Joseph Vaz, a priest from the 17th century, Sri Lanka's first Roman Catholic saint during his visit. Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15.

Ranjith told reporters that if Pope Francis approves Vaz's final miracle, his sainthood canonization could be completed "in time for an open Mass at Colombo's Galle Face Green," The Associated Press reports.

Vaz was born in India in 1651, but he worked in Sri Lanka "amid persecution of Catholics by Dutch colonial rulers," AP notes. During his visit to South Korea last month, Pope Francis told Catholics he would try to declare more Asian saints.