Croatia In Need of a Little Joy, Says Cardinal

Looks Ahead to Pope’s 2-Day Visit

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SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, MAY 31, 2011 ( The archbishop of Sarajevo is looking to Benedict XVI to bring a little joy to Croatia and its neighboring countries this weekend.

Speaking on Croatian Catholic Radio and Radio MIR Medjugorje, Cardinal Vinko Puljic said the Pope’s two-day trip «will be a meaningful message for the Croatian nation, whether in Croatia or in Bosnia and Herzegovina,» reported Croatia’s IKA Catholic news agency.

The Pontiff will arrive in Croatia on Saturday, and on Sunday will celebrate the National Day of Croatian Catholic Families.

«I am happy that Benedict XVI is coming to Croatia for the first time in his office as Pope,» Cardinal Puljic continued. «In a special way, I am happy about the theme of the celebration of Family Day, which he is coming to celebrate. I think that this is a positive reality which, I fear, the people of Croatia do not appreciate sufficiently.»

He also noted that numerous pilgrims from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina have already registered and obtained tickets for the youth prayer vigil on Saturday at Zagreb’s Ban Josip Jelacic Square, and the celebration of the Mass on Sunday at the Zagreb Hippodrome, and that many parishes are organizing bus transportation.

Cardinal Puljic urged the media «in its electronic coverage or in the press, to make this powerful event present in all our families so that it will reverberate as deeply as possible as spiritual renewal and the renewal of faith, and in some way heal public opinion, which is quite sick of negativity.»

The archbishop of Sarajevo expressed the hope that the media «will genuinely bring something positive into a climate that is fairly wearing. We need something that will bring joy.» 

At Zagreb’s cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Stephen, Benedict XVI will pray at the tomb of Blessed Aloysius Viktor 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.

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