VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will visit his native Germany in 2011, which will be the third time he will have visited his homeland since the beginning of his pontificate in 2005.
The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau, reported today that the Pope will most likely visit the country in September, and that he will make stops in Berlin, Freiburg and Erfurt.
“The Holy Father’s visit will represent an important moment in the life of our country and our Church,” the prelate said in statements that were reported by Vatican Radio.
“I’m glad the Holy Father has accepted the invitation of the president, Christian Wulff, and our episcopal conference,” he added. “His visit will strengthen the Church in Germany and his service to mankind and society.”
Archbishop Zollitsch said more details would be published on the apostolic visit before Christmas.
The Pontiff traveled to Germany in August 2005 for World Youth Day in Cologne, and to Munich, Altoetting and Regensburg in September 2006.
On Tuesday, the Croatian Bishops’ Conference announced that Benedict XVI accepted an invitation to visit the country for a pastoral visit on June 4-5, 2011.
The statement said the Pope will visit Zagreb on the occasion of National Day of Croatian Catholic Families, whose theme is “Together in Christ.” This will be the first visit of Benedict XVI to Croatia.
During the trip, the Pontiff will gather in prayer at the tomb of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, who was the archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960. The cardinal was persecuted by the communist regime of Josip Tito and died a martyr.
Next year, Benedict XVI will also travel to Spain in August to preside at World Youth Day.