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Pope holds up during grueling pilgrimage

Fighting fatigue but determined to carry on, Pope John Paul II wrapped up his 100th foreign pilgrimage yesterday .

A trip to Mongolia in August is up in the air, but the 83-year-old pope sets out again in less than two weeks for Bosnia, where he won't be able to count on the adoring crowds he found in his grueling five-day tour of Croatia.

John Paul got a spirited send-off yesterday from more than 100,000 euphoric pilgrims who chanted, "You are ours and we are yours!" at his final stop in the coastal city of Zadar before returning to Rome.

The pope capped his third visit to Croatia with a stirring tribute to the former Yugoslav republic's struggle to overcome nationalism, hatred and bitterness after its 1991 war for independence.

"I remember your sufferings caused by the war, which are still visible on your faces and are affecting your lives," he told a crowd assembled on a seaside promenade.

"I am close to all those who are enduring the tragic consequences of that war. I know your strength, your courage and your faith - and I am sure that your continuing efforts will enable you to see better days," the pope said.

John Paul seemed to draw strength from the large crowds of pilgrims who greeted him across overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Croatia.

But the visit and the withering heat severely tested the pope's stamina and resolve to go to his far-flung flock - a hallmark of his nearly 25-year papacy.

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls conceded that the Croatia trip had been "very stressful" for John Paul.

At one point, the pope alluded to his own mortality by leaving a rosary at a shrine and asking the faithful to "pray for me during my life and even after my death."


Papal Visit to Croatia (official site)
Apostolic Journey to Croatia, 5-9 June 2003 (Vatican website)
Pope's plea for Croatia tolerance (BBC)
John Paul II's Address at Rijeka (Zenit)
John Paul II's Homily at Osijek-Cepin Airfield (Zenit)
Pope's Pentecost Homily in Croatia (Zenit)
Vatican official speaks frankly on Israel, Palestine and Islam (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope uses Croatia trip to press Europe to acknowleged its Christian roots (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope defies age and heat during five-day trip (National Catholic Reporter)
Vatican opposition to Iraq war justified (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope underlines concern for families and women (National Catholic Reporter)
Vatican Downplays Pope Death Threat (Voice of America)
Heat Kills Two at Papal Mass in Croatia (AP)
Pope Praises Women on Croatia Pilgrimage (AP)A papal trip to Mongolia seems less and less likely (National Catholic Reporter)
French sex show during pope visit (Reuters)Mongolia Visit by Pope Likely-- But Not for August (Catholic World News)
Threat against Pope in Croatia Does Not Stop Visit (Catholic World News)
Pope Concludes 100th Foreign Visit in Croatia (Catholic World News)
Memories, magical moments: Postcards from 25 years of papal travel (Catholic News Service)
In Croatia, pope says Christianity can contribute to country's future (Catholic News Service)
Pope says Croatia needs women's 'genius,' sensitivity to survive (Catholic News Service)
Pope asks for prayers now and after his death (NZ Herald)
Pope mass attracts 100,000 pilgrims to Croatia town (Channel News Asia)
Pope: Faith key to Croatia future (CNN)
Pope says fond farewell to Croatia (BBC)
Pope urges Croatians to move past war (AP)
Pope tells Croats not to lose hope in effort to overcome bitter legacy of war (AP)
Pope's Croatia Visit Overshadowed by Death of Pilgrims (Voice of America)
Pope Holds Up During Grueling Pilgrimage (AP)
Pope wraps up Croatia visit (AP)
Pope Reassures Croats of Bright Future (AP)
Pontiff tells Croats their faith, courage will ensure a brighter future (AP)
Croatia Gives Pope Big Sendoff to End 100th Trip (Reuters)
Pope Appeals for Reconciliation Between Croats and Serbs (Zenit)
Papal Trip to Belgrade Appears More Likely (Zenit)
Pope Asks Support for Families to Overcome Social Fragmentation (Zenit)
Pope's Pentecost Homily in Croatia (Zenit)
Pope Asks Support for Families to Overcome Social Fragmentation (Zenit)
Vocation of a Christian Is Holiness, Says John Paul II (Zenit)

10 Jun 2003