Itinerary for Pope's 9-Hour Visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina

Beatification Scheduled During 101st International Trip

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2003 ( John Paul II will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina next week — five years after his visit to Sarajevo — to beatify a layman.

The Pope’s 101st international trip will take him Sunday to Banja Luka, a city in Republika Srpska, a Bosnian Serb entity, where the new blessed, Ivan Merz (1896-1928), was born.

A philosopher and theologian, Merz was a consecrated layman dedicated to the education of youth within Catholic Action.

The Holy Father will be visiting a country still recovering from the bloody four-year conflict between Croatian, Bosnian-Muslim and Serbian groups, which broke out after the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. He completed a visit to Croatia last week.

Banja Luka was one of the localities most affected by the war, which resulted in over 300,000 victims and 1.9 million homeless, among them many Catholics. Few of them have been able to return to their homes.

Today, the Catholic community in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been reduced to just over 450,000 faithful, out of a total population of 4 million.

On Sunday, the Pope will leave Rome at 8:15 a.m. and land at the Banja Luka airport at 9:40 a.m., where the welcome ceremony will take place. It will be followed by a private meeting with the collegial presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The beatification Mass for Ivan Merz will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Most Holy Trinity monastery of the Order of Friars Minor, on the outskirts of the city.

Later, the Pope will lunch with the country’s prelates at the residence of the bishop of Banja Luka. There, at 6 p.m. he will receive the president of Republika Srpska and the president of the federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Holy Father will make a private visit to Banja Luka’s Catholic cathedral, and then go to the airport, where he will bid the country farewell at 7:15 p.m.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation