Pope Francis announced on Sunday that he intends to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on June 6.
The surprise announcement came as he addressed the crowds in St. Peter’s Square after the recitation of the Angelus prayer.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
“God willing” – the Pope said –“On Saturday 6 June I will travel to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.” And he asked for prayers so his one-day visit would encourage Bosnia's Catholic population as well as `'give rise to the development of good and contribute to the consolidation of brotherhood and peace, inter-religious dialogue and friendship.''
The nation, that was part of the former Yugoslavia, was ravaged by the 1992-95 war which took over 100,000 lives. Thousands of people, including Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats, were killed or taken to concentration camps during Serb efforts in 1992 to drive out non-Serbs. The prosecution of war crimes suspects is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, during his Sunday catechesis Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of Mark according to whom ‘when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority’.
And the Pope invited the faithful to listen to the Word of God, to receive its teaching and to announce it to others.
He explained that in the words of a ‘human’ Jesus there was all the authority of God and every word that he utters corresponds to truth.
The Gospel, Francis continued, “does not oppress people; to the contrary: it frees those who are enslaved by the evil spirits of this world: the spirit of vanity, of attachment to money, of pride, of sensuality… the Gospel changes our hearts, it transforms evil inclinations into good proposals”.
“The Gospel is capable of changing people!” he said.
Pope Francis concluded his catechesis inviting all to have daily contact with the Gospel, to read a passage every day, to meditate upon its teachings. And he invited the faithful to carry a copy of the Gospel “in your pocket, in your bag”, allowing oneself “to be nurtured every day by this infinite source of salvation”.