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Papal envoy visits bombed Kochchikade Shrine

Fernando Cardinal Filio at St Anthony’s Kochchikade with Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Fr Jude Raj/ Akila Jayawardene

A special envoy of Pope Francis, Fernando Cardinal Filio is in the country and visited the bombed-out St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade today.

Cardinal Filio is also expected to visit the Catholic community of St Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, the other Catholic Church that was struck on Easter Sunday.

Today at Kochchikade Filio, accompanied by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith inspected the reconstruction work at St Anthony’s.

He discussed matters with Fr Jude Raj the Parish Priest.

Filio has acted as Pope Francis’s envoy before. In the 1980s he served two years as the Papal Nuncio in Colombo.

He became well-known during the Gulf War in 2003 when he was the Nuncio in Baghdad.

Filio backed Pope John Paul II’s position opposing the American invasion.

He stayed in Iraq through the war and was almost killed.