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Pope set for Croatia trip

Pope John Paul will board yet another plane today, for the short flight across the Adriatic to Croatia, to start the 100th foreign trip of his pontificate.

The trip's main purpose is to beatify Sister Marija Petkovic, a 20th century nun who founded a religious order to help the poor.

The beatification takes place tomorrow in Dubrovnik, the old port city that has been restored to its original beauty after war in the early 1990s.

Croatia's population of 4.4 million is 88.6% Catholic. As he has in past visits, the pope will urge ethnic reconciliation and tolerance.

The pope, a fellow Slav, has supported European Union enlargement and is expected to bless Croatia's membership bid.

"He has also been a clear supporter of Eastern Europe, with messages that the creation of new Europe must not stop, that it must continue, that every country must be given a chance and be encouraged to prepare for membership," Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic told Reuters in an interview.

"I believe that his message here will be clear - support for Croatia's EU bid, but also instructions for Croatia on how to build its future," he said.


Trip Will Keep John Paul II Moving Around Croatia (Zenit)
Pope Heads to Croatia, a Country on Mend (AP)
Papal Visit to Croatia (official site)
Croatia, a land marked by intrepid witnesses to the gospel (Vatican Information Service)

No Alpine Vacation for John Paul II this Year (Catholic World News)
Balkan leader says he hopes by next year he can invite pope to visit (Catholic News Service)

5 Jun 2003