Iranian Plans a Peace Pilgrimage From Vatican to Mecca

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2003 ( An Iranian social worker plans to cycle, fly and walk from the Vatican to Mecca to carry a message of peace to peoples.

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Poupeh Mahdvinader, 29, was welcomed on Friday by Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the council offices in Rome.

Mahdvinader is also collecting funds for the support of orphans. She works with orphans in Iran.

A statement from the pontifical council noted that the Iranian cyclist hopes to leave St. Peter’s Square next week and to travel by bicycle through Italy, France and England.

She intends to fly to the United States, cross it on a bike, fly to Japan, where she will travel on foot, and then, via plane and ship, travel to New Zealand, China, India and Oman. She hopes to conclude her pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The pontifical council’s statement added that Mahdvinader is undertaking this «humanitarian adventure,» expected to last one year, as a personal and private initiative. Her motto is «Love, friendship and global peace.»

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