Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is planning a one-day trip to Sarajevo on June 6th.
Pope Francis made the announcement to tens of thousands of faithful that were gathered for his weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
He said that he wishes to “give rise to the development of good and contribute to the consolidation of brotherhood and peace.”
That is, of course, more difficult to do than to say, but Pope Francis has made the cause of high importance in light of the rising persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the epicenter of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war that claimed over 100,000 lives.
The war also caused mass anti-government riots and widespread unemployment, even up until last February when riots rocked the country again.
Pope Francis‘ visit to Sarajevo follows visits to Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Albania and Turkey last year.
He is visiting many countries where tensions are high between Muslims and Christians. Pope Francis is trying to strengthen relations with moderate Islam to protect Christians facing increasing persecution in the Middle East.
This will be the first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 18 years.
Pope John Paul II visited the war-torn country back in 1997, even though there were many assassination threats awaiting him.
He had a similar message to that of Pope Francis. He was trying to start dialogue between Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Croats, and Orthodox Serbs.
Besides building bridges between different religious groups, Pope Francis will also address other issues strangling Bosnia and Herzegovina like high unemployment, corruption, and deep political polarization.
What do you think about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Do you think Pope Francis will make progress for religious peace?