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Sri Lanka - Sri Lankan's gear up to receive Saint Anthony's relic

Colombo:- Catholics in Sri Lanka are adorning their streets and churches to receive a relic of Saint Anthony from Padua, Italy.

A chariot is to carry the relic from Colombo airport to the beachfront St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade on March 7.

The relic will remain in the Colombo shrine from March 7-9 and 19-21. In between it will be placed in other shines in the country.

Special crowd management and security arrangements are being made in Colombo and elsewhere. People will hoist flags and images of the saint along the main route of the journey across the country.

According to Church reports from northern Sri Lanka, a former war-torn area, parish councils and youth centers there are working to receive the relic.

Father Elmo Raj, a parish priest, said people are happy about the arrival of the relic so soon after the end of the country's civil war last May. He expressed hope that the "saint will bring permanent peace here."

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo made arrangements for the relic to reach Sri Lanka to mark the Colombo shrine's 175th anniversary. The shrine has already been renovated to receive more than 1 million visitors.

In predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka, Saint Anthony is venerated as a miracle worker and churches dedicated to him are popular places of worship for people from various faiths, rich and poor alike.

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