(Vatican) Pope Francis announced on Monday that Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, will be declared saint on Jan. 14, 2015. It will take place during his visit to the island nation Jan. 13-15. He fixed the canonization date at the start of the consistory of cardinals in the Vatican convoked to update the prelates on the situation of the Christians of the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, and the commitment of the Church for peace in the region. Another canonization date - that of Italian Sr. Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception - has not been decided.
Known as the Apostle of Sri Lanka for his ingenious apostolic zeal in reviving the Catholic faith in Sri Lanka under the harsh persecution of Calvinist Dutch rule in the 17th century, Fr. Vaz, an Oratorian priest from what is today Goa, India, was declared Blessed by St. John Paul II in January, 1995 in Sri Lanka. On Sept. 17, Pope Francis declared Blessed Vaz would be canonized, and the date was announced on Oct. 20.
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