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Monday, March 27, 2017
Pope ends visit to Slovakia
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 Looking frail and exhausted, Pope John Paul II celebrated the last open air Mass of his trip to Slovakia yesterday. More than 200,000 attended the celebration, which included the beatification of two Slovaks imprisoned and tortured under the former communist regime. One of the new Blesseds was Bishop Vasil Hopko, who was placed under house arrest and solitary confinement, then interned and incarcerated for 15 years for practicing his faith. The other was a nurse, Sr Zdenka Cecilia Schelingova, was sentenced to 12 years´ jail for high treason after helping a priest escape from prison. The Pope said: "I thank God because you have been able to safeguard, even in difficult times, your fidelity to Christ and to his church." Based at the apostolic nunciature in Bratislava, the Pope travelled hundreds of kilometres throughout the four day visit, to churches, cathedrals, and a seminary. Huge crowds cheering him at every stop. The Slovakia visit was John Paul´s last scheduled trip, although he has invitations for next year from at least four countries including France, Austria, Switzerland and Poland. Source: VIS
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