The special aircraft carrying Pope Francis and the Papal delegation touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport at 9.00 a.m. this morning.
He was greeted first by a young boy in the traditional way of Sri Lanka and a girl who gave him a large garland of yellow and white flowers. He then walked on a long red carpet as colorful Sri Lankan dancers performed on both sides, accompanied by rhythmic drumming.
He was welcomed and greeted by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, the First Lady and thereafter by Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.
He was escorted to a special dais where a guard of honour was conducted by the Chief of Defence Staff. The National Anthems of the Holy See and Sri Lanka was played. Thereafter His Holiness delivered a speech.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, several Ministers and a distinguished gathering were present on the occasion.
Thereafter Pope Francis travelled in the ‘Pope-mobile’ amidst thousands of Sri Lankans greeting Holy Father and waving flags and crowds chanting ‘ Papa We Love You ‘.
Holy Father Pope Francis came through Katunayake – Colombo road upto the Apostolic Nunciature and thereafter proceeded to the Archbishop’s House to meet the Bishops and for the lunch.