Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Benedict XVI's travel plans for Croatia

Benedict XVI will travel to Croatia on June 4 and 5. During his two-day visit, he will preside over the National Day of Croatian Catholic Families. This is the first trip that Benedict XVI has made to the country as pope, however he visited twice while he was a cardinal.

The pope will arrive at the Zagreb airport on the morning of Saturday June 4. He plans to give a speech directed toward the entire nation. He will also be received by the president, Ivo Josipovic, the Cardinal of Zagreb, Josip Bozanic and the president of the Croatian Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Marin Srakić.

The President of Croatia is an avid music lover and the pope plans to give him a copy of a song's manuscript from the Vatican Library.

Benedict XVI will be staying at the Croatian nunciature, which was built 20 years ago, after the country's independence from Yugoslavia. There he will receive the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.

In the afternoon, in the Croatian National Theatre, Benedict XVI will meet with representatives from local organizations, politicians, entrepreneurs, diplomats and leaders of other religions. In total, he will meet with around 700 people. It will be the only Ecumenical meeting for the trip.

After the meeting, Benedict XVI will meet with 50,000 young people in the central square of Zagreb. He will give away a gold rosary to the Virgin Mary. The meeting will end with a Eucharistic adoration.

On Sunday June 5, Benedict XVI will preside over the Day of Croatian Families. It will be at a local racetrack which holds around 300,000 people.

In the afternoon, he will visit the famous Cathedral of Zagreb, which has neo-Gothic style, and where the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac is buried. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison by a communist court. Here, the bishops, priests and seminarians will pray the Vespers together.

Of the 4 ½ million inhabitants in Croatia, 89% are Catholic. Agnostics make up 6% and 2% practice Islam.

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