Church in Slovakia Prepares For Papal Visit

BRATISLAVA, JULY 28, 2003 ( Slovakia’s bishops have published a letter to prepare the faithful for John Paul II’s visit to the country, scheduled for September 11-14.

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«We wish to pray uninterruptedly for the Peter of our times, and to help him in his compromising and responsible role of pastor of the people of God,» the first lines of the letter read.

The bishops exhorted the Slovak faithful to «intensify» their spiritual life, in this period of waiting and preparation, to «renew» their love for the Church.

They suggest that the faithful do so, by greater dedication to the sacraments, and that families participate in times of «prayer in common,» in particular, with the Rosary.

«The Rosary is a prayer that takes its name from roses. Each of the ten Hail Marys is like a spiritual rose,» the letter states. «We want to make a rich spiritual bouquet of these roses for the Holy Father.»

The Holy Father will beatify Bishop Basil Hopko (1976) and Sister Zdenka Schelingova (1955), both recent martyrs of the Communist regime.

During the four days of his visit, the Holy Father will visit four cities: Trnava, Banska Bystrica, Roznava, and Bratislava, the Holy See’s Press Office revealed. This will be John Paul II’s 102nd international trip.

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