At papal Mass in Sri Lanka, disabled man seeks 'big blessing'

Romello Dias at the Papal Mass in Colombo Sri Lanka Jan 14 2015 Credit Alan Holdren CNA CNA 1 14 15 Romello Dias and family at the papal Mass in Colombo Jan 14.

Among the attendees at the papal Mass in Sri Lanka on Wednesday was Romello Dias, a 20-year-old man who has been suffering major health problems for five years.

"I want a big blessing for my son, (so) that he will be okay," Dias' father told CNA Jan. 14.

Dias started having health problems after he finished ninth grade. Doctors do not know what is wrong with him.

Dias' parents brought their son to the canonization Mass and laid him on a cot about 15 rows back from the altar. They arrived very early, at 11 p.m. the night before the 8:30 a.m. Mass. The family is from the large Colombo suburb of Wattala.

Pope Francis met and blessed several people with disabilities before the Mass began in Colombo's Galle Face Green.

At the Mass the Pope canonized the first Sri Lankan saint, the 17th century priest Joseph Vaz. The pontiff praised the saint's "particular desire to serve the ill and suffering."

"I encourage each of you to look to Saint Joseph as a sure guide," the Pope said. "He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ everywhere known and loved."

Some of those gathered for the Mass worked together to hold up people in wheelchairs so that they could see over the crowd of hundreds of thousands.

Pope Francis will leave Colombo for the Philippines on Thursday.

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