Pope John Paul, on a nine-day visit to his native Poland, told Lithuanian worshipers Wednesday a historic papal visit to the Soviet Union was drawing ever closer.
"Lithuania, I hear your voice," the Polish pope told Lithuanians who crossed into Poland to celebrate Mass with him at Lomza, 80 miles from the Soviet border."I believe my meeting with Lithuanians will bring closer the day when Lithuania will be on a papal pilgrimage trail," he added.
Top politicians from the rebel Soviet Baltic republic joined Cardinal Vin-centas Sladkevicius and other Lithuanian Catholics at the meeting with the pope.
Monday, Sladkevicius led 16,000 Lithuanian Catholics into Poland to attend an open-air papal Mass in Lomza and told reporters he would invite the pope to visit Lithuania.
Lithuanian Vice President Ceslovas Stankevicius also made the trip to Lomza to stand in for President Vytautas Landsbergis.
The latter canceled plans to attend at the last minute when fears of a military crackdown in the Baltic republic were revived by Soviet troop movements Monday night.