Pope to Visit Eight Polish Cities
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Pope John Paul II will visit eight cities, including the birthplace of the outlawed Solidarity labor movement, on his third papal pilgrimage to his homeland in June, a church spokesman said Monday.
John Paul, the former Archbishop of Krakow, has made two previous trips to his native land as pontiff. But for political reasons the government did not allow him to stop in Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity, on his last visit.
The announcement that the pope would visit Gdansk and several other cities not included in his 1979 and 1983 itineraries came only a few weeks after Polish leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski met with John Paul during his official visit to Italy last month.
″The dates and the cities have been agreed upon,″ Marek Pernal, a lay assistant at the Polish Roman Catholic episcopate’s press office in Warsaw, said in a telephone interview.
Pernal said the pope’s exact route and details of his visit would be made public in a joint announcement by church and government officials ″within the next few days.″
The pope will arrive in Warsaw June 8, then visit Lublin, Tarnow, Krakow, Szczecin, Gdansk, Czestochowa and Lodz before leaving from Warsaw on June 14, said Archbishop Bronislaw Dabrowski, secretary of the Polish episcopate.
Dabrowski was quoted in the official Catholic weekly Przeglad Katolicki. The report also was carried by the official Polish news agency PAP, an indication it had been approved by the government.
John Paul will visit for the first time as pope the Baltic ports of Gdansk and Szczecin, centers of the 1980 workers’ protest that led to Solidarity’s birth; Lublin, home of the Soviet bloc’s only Catholic university; the industrial city of Lodz with its predominantly female workforce; and Tarnow, for observances of the southeastern diocese’s 200th anniversary.
The church-state negotiations concerning the papal visit appear to have been less troublesome than those preceding his last pilgrimage in June 1983 when Poland was still under martial law.
At that time, the government refused John Paul permission to visit Gdansk, home of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, because of the sensitive political situation.
The last major obstacle to this year’s papal visit was removed in September when the government announced an amnesty for political prisoners.
Last December, Jaruzelski, the Communist Party leader, and Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the Catholic primate, issued a joint invitation to John Paul.
About 90 percent of the country’s 37 million people are Roman Catholic.