Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church in India has asked the government of Karnataka for help to build a shrine dedicated to the Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II.
A delegation led by Mgr Aloysius Paul D' Souza, bishop of Mangalore, made the request on Wednesday when they met with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The project involves the construction of a shrine at Bajpe in Mangalore where Pope John Paul II met with more than 500,000 people on 6 February1986 during his historic trip to India.
Fr William Menezes, public relations officer of the diocese of Mangalore, explained to AsiaNews the importance of the initiative.
"John Paul II's visit to Karnataka was historic because no pope had ever come before. The Holy Father was also a state guest, and more than 500,000 people came to greet him."
On 27 April 2014, Pope Francis will canonise John Paul II.
When he met with the chief minister, Mgr D'Souza also asked for more government financial aid for minorities, poor families and children in need.