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Tuesday, May 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Raul Nicolau Gonsalves of Goa and Damao, accompanied by auxiliary Bishops Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastiao do Rosario Ferrao.

- Bishop Thomas Bhalerao, S.J., of Nashik.

- Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai.

- Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, S.J., of Gandhinagar.

- Angela Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian-Social Union of Germany, and an entourage.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2003 (VIS) - On the occasion of John Paul II's apostolic trip to Croatia on June 5 - 9, his 100th trip outside of Italy during which he will visit Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Osijek and Zadar, we offer some statistics on the Catholic Church in this country.

Croatia, which the Pope visited in 1994 and 1998, has a population of 4,660,000, of which 3,772,000 are Catholic, approximately 80.9% of the total population. There are currently 27 bishops, 2,260 priests, 3,520 religious and 689 seminarians in the country.

The Catholic Church in this Balkan nation runs 26 primary, middle and secondary schools, and eight superior schools and universities in which more than 4,000 students are enrolled. In addition, there are 33 homes for the elderly, disabled and handicapped, 57 orphanages and 21 family counseling and Pro-life centers and 18 centers for education and social rehabilitation.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Miklos Beer, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, as bishop of the diocese of Vac (area 8,805, population 1,067,000, Catholics 705,000, priests 224, permanent deacons 6, religious 233), Hungary.

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