Pope Francis today travelled to the north of Sri Lanka where a 30-year civil war was waged between ethnic Tamils and Sinhalese that ended in 2009.
In his address at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu - the most visited Marian shrine in the country - he reminded those present that the Blessed Mother "wants to guide Sri Lankans to greater reconciliation, so that the balm of God’s pardon and mercy may bring true healing to all."
During the ceremony, a special prayer was raised to the Virgin Mary for the consolidation of peace in the country. Tamil and Sinhalese families who suffered greatly from the hostilities were among those present.
Here below is the full text of the Pope's speech: