Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Monsignor Malcolm Ranjith who presently serves as the Secretary of the Holy Father's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments as the Archbishop of Colombo. Thus, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith whose Vatican based Congregation is located in the precincts of the famed St. Peter's Basilica in Rome will soon move to Colombo to spearhead the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.
It was Pope Benedict XVI who appointed Archbishop Malcolm on December 10, 2005 to perhaps one of the key Congregations of the Roman Curia that attends to everything pertaining to the Apostolic See concerning the regulation and promotion of the sacred liturgy, primarily of the sacraments, within a few months of his election as the Holy Father. Archbishop Malcolm is the first Sri Lankan to be appointed Secretary of a Congregation.
Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith was ordained a priest at 27 by Pope Paul VI in Rome, appointed a Bishop at 43 by Pope John Paul II and elevated an Archbishop at 53 by Pope John Paul II. Known as a tireless servant of truth, justice and freedom, he has won the love, respect and admiration of people of all walks of life as well as religious leaders of all over the world.
Archbishop Malcolm has mastered ten languages - Italian, German, French, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, English, Sinhala and Tamil and thus has a remarkable ability to converse and understand the problems of the Catholic Church spread throughout the world.
He has been blessed with many firsts in his 32 years in the ministry. He is the first Sri Lankan ever to be appointed by the Holy Fathers for key assignments such as the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Apostolic Ambassador and Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Prior to that he was the first Bishop of Ratnapura.
He had his ecclesiastic studies at Pontifical Urban University and Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome. Later, he obtained a Baccalaureate in Theology, a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture and a Special Certificate in Biblical Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, .
Archbishop Malcolm has always promoted inter-faith dialogue in Sri Lanka as he believes that can eliminate potential causes of tensions and disagreements between the religious and ethnic groups that make up the country.
Early life and priesthood
Born on November 15, 1947 as the only son of Don William and Mary Winifreeda and baptized in Polgahawela, he had his education at De La Salle College, Mutwal. He joined St. Aloysius' Seminary at Borella in 1965 and after three months entered the National Seminary at Ampitiya. During the regency, Bro. Malcolm served SEDEC in the district of Ratnapura building homes for the needy. Thereafter, he joined the tutorial staff of St. Thomas' College, Kotte.
Archbishop Malcolm is a warm and gentle friend gifted with enough charisma to enthuse others. He is a lucid and popular teacher of Holy Scripture; preacher par excellence; but above all, a missionary fired with apostolic zeal.