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St. Joseph Vaz

Facts

Feastday: January 16
Patron: Sri Lanka
Birth: April 21, 1651
Death: January 16, 1711
Beatified: January 21, 1995, Galle Face Green, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Pope John Paul II
Canonized: January 14, 2015, Galle Face Green, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Pope Francis

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Blessed Joseph Vaz (21 April 1651, Benaulim - 16 January 1711, Kandy) was a Catholic Oratorian priest from Goa. He is known as the Apostle of Ceylon.

Fr. Vaz entered Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) during the Dutch occupation, when Calvinism was the official religion. He traveled throughout the island bringing the Eucharist and the sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. Later in his mission, he found shelter in the Kandyan kingdom where he was able to work freely. At the time of his death, Fr. Vaz managed to rebuild the Catholic church on the island. On 21 January 1995, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Colombo.

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