Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka from Jan. 12-15, then spend Jan. 15-19 in the Philippines, the Vatican and Philippines bishops announced Tuesday.
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
Thousands of Catholic celebrated the reopening of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday after a two-year restoration project.
Steps taken by Pope Francis, including several pronouncements, are seen as a model for Catholics in the Philippines about what it means to be church leader and member. Surveys for the 2013 Catholic Directory of the Philippines recorded 76.18 million baptized Catholics amid the country's population of an estimated 96.71 million people.