POPE TO VISIT MEXICO EARLY IN 1999 AND TURKISH LEADER INVITES A PAPAL VISIT

     VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II will plan to visit Mexico in early 1999, according to an announcement made on Mexican national television by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara.

      During the Synod of Bishops for the Americas last year, the Holy Father was asked to come to Mexico, to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the formal promulgation of the final apostolic exhortation that will encapsulate the findings of the Synod. The invitation was formally issued by Archbishop Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, who was elevated to the rank of cardinal just last week. The Pope accepted that invitation, leaving the specific details of the trip to be determined later; the schedule will depend in part on the Pope's progress in drafting and editing the post-synodal exhortation.

      The projected trip will be the fourth visit by John Paul to Mexico; he has traveled there previously in 1979, 1990, and 1993.

      Pope John Paul II has been invited by the president of Turkey to visit that country during the Jubilee Year 2000.

      President Suleiman Demirel issued his invitation earlier this month, Turkey's ambassador to the Holy See confirmed today. There has been no official response from the Vatican to date.

      Pope John Paul II last visited Turkey in 1979. The predominantly Muslim country is the site of numerous Christian shrines dating back to the earliest days of the Church, including the sites of St. Paul's missionary travels.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

March 2, 1998 volume 9, no. 43         DAILY CATHOLIC