Pope John Paul the Second returns to his Polish homeland for an historic eight-day visit, beginning this Saturday (2 June).
GV PAN Victory Square in Warsaw PAN TO scaffolding being erected, where general mass will be held
SV Men working on scaffolding, with wooden seats being fitted (2 shots)
GV Tomb of Unknown Soldier bedecked with posies of carnations (2 shots)
TRAVEL SHOTS Krakowskie Przedmiescie street with various churches
GV Castle Square and castle (2 shots)
GV Academic Church of St. Anne's
GV TILT DOWN St. John's Cathedral
GV Cardinal Wyszynski's residence (3 shots)
CU Portrait of Cardinal Wyszynski
GV Belverdere building, the President's residence
SV ZOOM OUT FROM Flag flying on top of National Assembly building (3 shots)
The Church has always played a central role in Poland's troubled history. The Warsaw newspaper, Express Wieczorny, has described it as "a kind of unofficial opposition". In his Xmas message the Pope had presented Stanislaw as a human rights champion for his opposition to his ruler on religious grounds. The government insisted on moving the date of the visit from the exact anniversary in May to the more neutral June. There have also been a number of clashes with dissidents. Two men in industrial Silesia recently ended a hunger strike started because of a government refusal to let the Pope visit them. And police recently raided the homes of several people in provincial towns, confiscating posters and photographs of the Pope. But the government has also given media coverage to the visit, and is issuing a commemorative stamp to mark the event. Both government and Church spokesmen have issued warnings against "troublemakers".
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Background: Pope John Paul the Second returns to his Polish homeland for an historic eight-day visit, beginning this Saturday (2 June). It is the first visit by a reigning pontiff to a communist nation. He will tour Warsaw, and the important religious centres of Gniezo and Czestochowa. He will also visit Krakow, where he presided as Archbishop before his election to the papacy last October.
SYNOPSIS: The Pope will start his visit with an open-air mass in Victory Square in Central Warsaw, which will be broadcast live on Polish radio and television. Up to one million people are expected at each stop in the tour, including visitors from the West and other Eastern European??? countries. Approximately 80 percent of the Polish population belongs to the Church, and the Pope, the first Polish national to hold this office, is especially popular.
The visit, made at the invitation of the Polish Episcopate, is called "a pilgrimage to his native country" for the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislaw, a Bishop of Krakow slain as a rebel on the orders of Polish King Boleslaw the Bold. The anniversary was the subject of a dispute earlier this year between the Church and the government, which feared that the saint would be used as a symbol of opposition to the secular authorities. The visit is also of great personal importance to the Pontiff.
Pope John Paul will be the guest of the Polish Catholic Primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, and will be accommodated exclusively on Church premises.
In the afternoon of his first day, the Pope will meet with state leaders at the Belvedere Palace, the official residence of Head of State Henryk Jablonski. He is expected to see Jablonski and Communist Party leader Edward Gierek. Arrangements for the trip have been delicate, but both the Church and the government have made every effort to create what they call a "mutually friendly atmosphere" (PAN official news agency).