WASHINGTON, (February 12, 1997) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, touring in the United States during February, will meet with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday, February 13, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Cardinal Puljic, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sarajevo, is visiting the United States to seek aid in reviving a church devastated by war and to strengthen international support for full implementation of the Dayton Accords and restoration of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Bosnia- Herzegovina. He was invited to the United States by Bishop Thomas Welsh of Allentown (PA) and The Catholic Medical Foundation, which is helping to build a Catholic hospital in Sarajevo. The Croatian Catholic Union of the USA and Canada and the U.S. Catholic Conference are helping to coordinate the visit..
In addition to New York, Cardinal Puljic will visit Newark, NJ; Allentown, PA; Philadelphia; Chicago; Hobart, IN; St. Louis; Washington, DC; and Cleveland where he will meet with Croatian Catholic communities and various Church and government officials to discuss the current situation in the Balkan region.
While in Washington, he is scheduled to speak at the Carnegie Endowment and meet with officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the Bosnian embassy, and Members of Congress.
Sarajevo is the seat of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Of the 144 parishes in the archdiocese at the beginning of the war, 90 have ceased to function. Of 528,000 Catholics, only about 170,000 remain. Cardinal Puljic was named a bishop in January 1991 and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in November 1994. At 51, he is the youngest of the Cardinals, and the first from Bosnia.
Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in December 1995, Cardinal Puljic begun to restore the life of the Catholic Church in his archdiocese. He has urged government officials to allow refugees and displaced persons to be permitted to return to their homes, has insisted on equal respect for the rights of religious and national minorities, and has continued to support efforts to restore a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Bosnia Herzegovina.
For more information on Cardinal Puljic's itinerary, contact Jerry Powers at the Office for International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Catholic Conference at 202-541-3199.