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Pope's 2003 travel plans taking shape

Health permitting, Pope John Paul II will make at least four trips abroad during the coming year, including Croatia, Spain, Bosnia, and Slovakia.

The Holy Father is scheduled to visit Croatia in April, Spain in early May, and Bosnia and Slovakia later in the year. In each case, the Pope's visits will focus on beatification and canonisation ceremonies.

In Croatia, the Pope will probably go to Dubrovnik, on the Dalmatian coast, to preside at the beatification of Ivan Merz, a layman who died early in the 20th century, and Marie Petkovic, the founder of a religious order in the Franciscan tradition.

The plans for papal trips to Bosnia and Slovakia are still in the formative stage. Vatican officials suggest that the Pope would likely visit Bosnia late in the spring, and Slovakia in the fall.

As he presented his diplomatic credentials to the Pontiff on Sunday, the new Bosnian ambassador to the Holy See, Ivan Misic, made a point of reminding John Paul that the Bosnian people hoped for a visit.

Catholic World News

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