Buses loaded with tense Norwegian Catholics will make a pilgrimage to Sweden when the Pope Francis visits Malmo in Sweden on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Bishop Bernt Eidsvig, seven priests and nearly 600 Norwegian Catholics will be among them for the Pope’s visit.
Oslo’s Catholic diocese has organized for buses to transport Norwegians to Malmo so they can participate in the festivities.
Vicar Paul Bratbak of St. Olav Cathedral is looking forward to it.
‘It’s fantastic to see him in Rome, but it is incredibly fun to get him on our home turf’, says Vicar Bratbak to the news agency NTB.
This is Pope Francis’ first visit to Scandinavia. The last time a sitting pope came here was when Pope John Paul II visited the five Nordic countries in 1989.
Before that, there hadn’t been a Pope doing business in Scandinavia since 1153 – and that wasn’t a sitting Pope, but Cardinal Nicholas Breakspeare before he became Pope Hadrian IV.
The historical backdrop says something about the importance of the event, thinks the vicar.
The Pope’s visit to Sweden is included among solemn commemorations of next year marking 500 years since the Reformation.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today