Papal Envoy Marks John Paul II’s 1986 India Trip

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor Representing Benedict XVI

LONDON, FEB. 3, 2011 ( The retired archbishop of Westminster is in India this week, representing Benedict XVI at celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to the nation.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is in India through Feb. 10 on a visit that will celebrate the Polish Pontiff’s message of hope, concern for the poor, and encouragement to the men and women religious of the country. It is the cardinal’s first trip to India.

The Indian bishops also had extended him an invitation for the anniversary events.

The 78-year-old cardinal will stop at many of the places visited by John Paul II, including Calcutta, where he will pray with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. He will meet with clergy and religious, as well as seminarians, and celebrate a Mass for the youth before departing.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor will also emphasize some of the same themes John Paul II stressed. In Ranchi, he will speak about the Eucharist; in Calcutta, charity; and in Cochin, the central role of the family.

The dates of his trip exactly coincide with those of John Paul II’s. The Pontiff was in India from Feb. 1 to Feb. 10, 1986.