Pope John Paul II has extended his eight-day visit to the United States this September, adding Detroit at the end of his tour and rescheduling a promised visit to Indians in northern Canada before he arrives in Miami, officials planning the trip said this week.
Foggy weather caused the Pope to postpone a visit to a small group of Canadian Indians in 1984, but Joe Clark, Canada's external affairs minister, said the Pope made a commitment during an audience at the Vatican this week with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to reschedule the trip to Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories.
The decision to add Detroit to the list of eight other U.S. cities was announced on Wednesday by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Detroit said in a telephone interview that Detroit was added "to relieve some of the burden" of John Paul's full schedule in the other U.S. cities.
The Pope is to arrive in Detroit from San Francisco the evening of Sept. 18 and leave for Rome about 9 p.m. Sept. 19.
After the Canada stop, the U.S. papal tour is to begin Sept. 10 in Miami, then go to Columbia, S.C.; New Orleans; San Antonio, and Phoenix, followed by California stops in Los Angeles, Monterey, Carmel and San Francisco.
The Detroit spokeswoman said a meeting with 1,000 permanent deacons and their wives previously scheduled for Sept. 12 in the New Orleans Superdome would instead be held Sept. 19 in Detroit. She added that it is "more than likely" that the Pope will also meet with Polish Catholics during his stopover in the 1.5-million-member Detroit archdiocese, which has a large Polish population.
Meanwhile, a papal Mass has been added to a program on the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California on Sept. 17, delaying the Pope's scheduled departure for San Francisco by two hours. Previously, the outdoor gathering at Laguna Seca race track near Monterey, which 100,000 people are expected to attend, was to include only a message by the Pope on the theme of agriculture.
A Mass in the evening of Sept. 17 tentatively announced for St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco has been replaced with a dialogue. The shift has fueled speculation that Franciscan Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California mission chain, will be beatified at the Monterey raceway.
The beatification--if it is to occur--is the second step in the slow and painstaking process toward Catholic sainthood. If the Pope declares Serra, who died at Carmel Mission in 1784, "a blessed," that ritual must occur in a Mass.
Ted Elisee, papal communications coordinator in the Diocese of Monterey, said the Mass at Laguna Seca was added to allow a maximum number of Catholics to receive the sacrament in the Pope's presence. He said he had received no word from the Vatican about Serra's beatification.
He added, however, "We have a copy of the ceremony in our hip pocket just in case it comes through."