Pope Plans Busy Year of Travel -- Spain First

From Times Wire Reports

Pope John Paul II will visit Spain in May, making the first of many foreign trips planned this year, the Vatican said this week.

The trip, scheduled for May 3 and 4, will be confined to Madrid, where the pope will preside over a canonization ceremony for four members of religious orders and a priest killed during the Spanish Civil War. It will be the pope’s fifth visit to Spain.

John Paul, who turns 83 on May 18, also is expected to visit Croatia and Bosnia in two trips in June, and Slovakia in September. Vatican officials also are considering the pope’s first visit to Mongolia in August.

The trip to Spain will be John Paul’s 99th outside Italy in his 24 years as pope -- more trips than any other pope.