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Officials announce plans for May Pope visit to Spain

Pope John Paul II plans to make his fifth pastoral visit to Spain next May, according to church officials in Spain and at the Vatican.

Tentative plans call for the pope to spend the first weekend of May 2003 in Madrid, where he is expected to celebrate a canonisation Mass, consult with Spanish bishops and meet with political and civil leaders.

News agencies said officials of the Spanish bishops' conference confirmed the papal visit during their plenary assembly in Madrid this week.

Vatican sources said it's too early for a formal announcement of the trip, but that it is expected to take place.

Opening the Spanish bishops' meeting on Monday, Cardinal Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela of Madrid recalled the pope's first visit to Spain in October 1982. He said the papal visit was an inspiration for the entire church in Spain and that its positive effects could still be felt.

The image above is from the Pope's 1993 visit to the 45th Eucharistic Congress in Seville

Catholic News Service

22 Nov 2002