Blessed Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) was an Indian priest from Philip Neri’s Congregation of the Oratory and co-founder of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.
India: Pope Francis announced that Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, will be declared saint on January 14 during his visit to the island nation.
He fixed the canonization date on October 20 at the start of the consistory of cardinals in the Vatican 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.
Vaz (1651-1711) was an Indian priest from Philip Neri’s Congregation of the Oratory and co-founder of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. He entered then Ceylon illegally when Calvinists of the Dutch empire undertook anti-Catholic persecution. Vaz saw churches being desecrated or destroyed and faithful dispersed or terrorized. He began an intense mission of evangelization and before his death the number of faithful stood at 70,000. There were also 15 churches and 400 chapels built by then.
St. John Paul II beatified Vaz during a visit to Sri Lanka in 1995 January. Now the canonization also is to take place during a papal visit. Pope Francis’ Sri Lankan visit is scheduled from January 13 to15.
Source: Vatican Radio