Our very own Cardinal returns home to a rousing welcome. His Eminence Dr. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith returned to Colombo this morning, after being elevated to the position of Cardinal in the Vatican.
Most Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith is the only Asian among the 24 prelates drawn into the much prestigious Sacred College of Cardinals – the highest ecclesiastical body of the Roman Catholic Church. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge, several Parliamentarians, Apostolic Nuncio in Sri Lanka Archbishop Joseph Spiteri and a distinguished gathering were present at the Katunayake International Airport to warmly greet the new Cardinal.
Members of the Maha Sangha chanted Pirith and invoked blessings on the Cardinal. Members of the Maha Sangha, including the Ven. Kumburugamuwe Vajira thera were present. It was thereafter Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith was conducted in a specially decorated vehicle to the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka at Tewatte. Catholics as well as Buddhist devotees gathered on either side of the motorcade to have a glimpse of his Eminence.
After offering tribute to his Eminence the Late Thomas Cardinal Cooray, the first Sri Lankan Cardinal, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith celebrated mass. His Eminence blessed the faithful gathered at the Basilica. Large crowds also gathered on either side of the route, while his Eminence was taken in a motorcade to Colombo from the Tewatte Basilica
Born on November 15, 1947 in Polgahawela, he had his education at De La Salle College, Mutwal. He entered St. Aloysius’ Seminary in Borella in 1965. Sri Lanka’s Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith whom Pope Benedict XVI appointed a Cardinal on October 20 has had a fast rise in the Church ranks. He was ordained a Priest at 27 by Pope Paul VI in Rome, consecrated a Bishop at 43 by Pope John Paul II, elevated an Archbishop at 53 by Pope John Paul II and now made a Cardinal at 62 by Pope Benedict XVI
The 62-year Cardinal-elect is known as a tireless servant of truth, justice and freedom and he has won love, respect and admiration of Catholics all over the world. His Eminence Malcolm has mastered ten languages – Italian, German, French, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, English, Sinhala and Tamil. His ability to converse and understand the problems of the Catholic Church spread throughout the world and his commitment and dedication in the execution of the enormous responsibilities of the Universal Church has made him one of the most influential voices in the world.