Moving towards the end of his triumphal return to his native Poland. Pope John Paul?
Moving towards the end of his triumphal return to his native Poland. Pope John Paul II on Friday (8 June) visited the foothills of the Tatra mountains, where he used to ski climb before being elected head of the Roman Catholic church.
SYNOPSIS: This was one of the most relaxed interludes in his hectic nine-day tour, which ends on Sunday (10 June). The altar built for the Pope was shaped like a mountain hut -- and local mountain people in traditional dress gathered to greet him with folk music played on rustic violins.
The Nowy Targ area in the Tatra mountains is close to the Czechoslovak border and in his speech on Friday the Pope hinted that pilgrims from Czechoslovakia might not have been allowed to cross into Poland to see him "I do not know if they are here", he said, "if they are not, tell them when they come that we mentioned them, prayed and remembered them." The Pope spoke about the beauty of the Tatra mountains and praised the local farmers. He also stressed the importance of marriage and family life and condemned abortion.
Pope John Paul made a special reference to the large number of people from the Tatra mountains who emigrated to the United States and elsewhere earlier this century because the poor soil could not give them a good living.
After speaking to the crowd The Pope left. Earlier he had flown from Krakow, where he was archbishop for fourteen years. During this time he escaped whenever possible to the solitude of the Tatra mountain. Once when asked his profession he replied "I'm a bishop". The stranger thought he was joking and responded "If you're a bishop, I'm the Pope."