Trip Will Keep John Paul II Moving Around Croatia

Beatification Planned in Dubrovnik

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ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 3, 2003 ( John Paul II will undertake his third apostolic trip to Croatia from June 5-9, visiting the dioceses of Dubrovnik and Djakovo-Srijem and the archdioceses of Rijeka and Zadar.

Each day of his trip, the 100th outside Italy, the Pope will preside over a liturgical celebration with the faithful. Virtually all the liturgies will be in Croatian. The theme of the celebrations is “The Family, Way of the Church and the People.”

The Holy Father will leave from Rome’s airport for Rijeka at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. A welcome ceremony will be held when he lands.

That same afternoon, the Pope will meet with the Croatian president in the archdiocesan seminary of Rijeka.

On Friday, the Pontiff will travel to the coastal city of Dubrovnik, where he will celebrate Mass and beatify Marija Petkovic (1892-1966), founder of the Franciscan Congregation of Daughters of Mercy, in Port Square.

On Saturday, John Paul II will go to Osijek, where he will celebrate Mass at 10:45 a.m. In the afternoon, he will make a private visit to the Cathedral of Djakovo, and then fly to Rijeka.

On Sunday, the Pope will preside over a Mass in Rijeka. He will meet with Croatia’s bishops at 1 p.m. at the archdiocesan seminary and later, in the same place, with the Croatian Prime Minister.

The Holy Father also will make a private visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat in Rijeka.

On Monday, before traveling to Zadar, John Paul II will celebrate a private Mass in the archdiocesan seminary of Rijeka. In Zadar, he will deliver the homily during a celebration of Word, before going to Zadar’s airport for a farewell ceremony, scheduled for 12:45 p.m.

Of Croatia’s 4.3 million people, 80.9% are Catholic. Orthodox constitute 15% of the population, Sunni Muslims 1.5%, Protestants 0.7%, and other religions 2.2%.

There are 15 dioceses in Croatia, with 1,554 parishes and 23 pastoral centers. The country has 27 bishops, 1,444 diocesan priests, 816 priests religious, and 2,260 seminarians. There are 3,436 professed religious, 69 lay members of secular institutes, and 1,610 catechists.

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