HISTORY'S best-travelled Pope has no plans to slow his pace in the next two years, if three separate announcements made this month are any indication.
Speaking at a private audience at the Vatican to some 70 Austrian parliamentarians, Pope John Paul said that he hoped to visit their country during 1983.
He did not give any specific dates for the visit, but in July, 1982, Cardinal Franz Konig of Vienna said on Vatican radio that the Pope planned to visit Austria on September 10, 1983, for the closing ceremonies of a national year of faith.
Also on December 6 Swiss bishops emerging from an official five-year visit with the Pope told reporters that the pontiff would visit Switzerland for the celebration of Pentecost in June, 1984.
Archbishop Otmar Maeder of Sankt Gallen, president of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, said that the Pope's trip to Switzerland would be "very simple" and "not very costly".
The Pope had originally planned a pastoral visit to Switzerland in mid-1981, but his plans were changed by the attack on his life in St Peter's Square on May 13 that year.
On June 15, 1982, the Pope paid an official one-day visit to Geneva, where he addressed several international organisations, including the Red Cross and the International indicated at that time that in the future he would pay a longer pastoral visit to Swiss Catholics to make up for the pastoral aspect of the missed 1981 trip.
Archbishop Maeder said that the Pope's 1984 itinerary will include a visit to the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
Also on December 6, Cardinal Pablo Munoz Vega of Quito, Ecuador, announced there, upon his return from Rome, that the Pope would visit Ecuador in mid-1984, during a trip to several Latin American countries.
In addition to the December 6 announcements, there have been other announcements of planned papal visits abroad in the next two years.
Several weeks . ago, Church sources in Central America forecast a trip there for the Pope in late February of 1983. Vatican sources say that the Pope is planning such a trip but that final arrangements have not yet been made and the itinerary is still being juggled. High on the probability list, they say, is a stop in Haiti for a meeting of the Council of Latin American Bishops conference that will be held there at that time.
Canadian bishops have already announced a visit of the Pope to that country in the autumn of 1984, and the Vatican has confirmed that the Pope will begin a visit to his native Poland on June 18, 1983.