John Paul II Confirms Visit to Poland

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2002 ( Two weeks after being officially invited, John Paul II confirmed that he plans to go to Poland again. The trip likely will be sometime in August.

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When greeting the Polish pilgrims at the general audience today, the Holy Father said in his native tongue: «You must prepare for my next visit.» The exact dates have yet to be officially announced.

During his meeting with the faithful, the Pontiff showed that he is recovering from the bout of arthrosis in his right knee, which last week forced him to cancel several public engagements.

When the president of Poland met John Paul II in the Vatican on Feb. 28, he said that the papal visit might take place in August. According to Polish public television, the Holy Father might arrive in his homeland Aug. 16.

The same source reported that John Paul II might visit the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska shrine near his native Wadowice. The Holy Father last visited Poland in 1999. As Pope, the former archbishop of Krakow has made eight visits to Poland.

The Pope is scheduled to travel to Bulgaria in May, and to Canada, Mexico and Guatemala at the end of July.

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