Sarajevo's cardinal welcomes Papal visit to Bosnia

- Pontiff's scheduled visit in June aimed at strengthening peace in region, says Cardinal Vinko Puljic.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina (AA) - Sarajevo's Cardinal Vinko Puljic has hailed the scheduled visit of Pope Francis to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a move towards helping peace in the region.

Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the archbishop of Vrhbosna, made the comments on Monday as the apostolic nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, confirmed that the Pope's one-day visit to the Bosnian capital on June 6 was "official, public and certain".

Puljic said: "It gives us great pleasure, because we all want to participate in peace-building."

He added the pontiff would coming "as a father, as a shepherd, a person in whose heart are values such as solidarity, a sense of respect for each other, dialogue at all levels, inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue".

Pezzuto said the visit was, as the Pope had expressed, a "pastoral" one, but the main aim of it was "to contribute to the strengthening of peace". 

He added that the pontiff would probably visit the Bosnian Presidency, and meet poor people as well as representatives of the victims of war.

During his address before thousands of believers in St. Pete's Square at the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis announced he would visit the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the hope that it would strengthen the fraternal relations in a country that had gone through a war two decades ago, and expressed the hope his visit would contribute to "the development of the consolidation of fraternity and peace".

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