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THE WEEK AHEAD

VILNIUS : On the Road Again

August 31, 1993

If you think Pope John Paul II has hardly been home from Denver long enough to catch his breath, think again.

On Saturday, the 73-year-old pontiff sallies forth on a momentous foreign trip.

In his first venture into parts of the former Soviet Union, the Pope will visit all three Baltic republics, beginning a week-long trip in Vilnius, Lithuania, the republic with the largest number of Roman Catholics.

He then goes to Riga in Latvia and ends the trip in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, where only a few thousand Catholics live.

Redressing the absence of religion under communism for so many years, John Paul will aim to unite renascent Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox communities. Aides call the trip a personal milestone for John Paul, long a beacon of Catholicism at home in formerly Communist Poland.

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