World

Pope heads to Sarajevo to encourage post-war reconciliation _ and dwindling Catholic community

  • Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of his trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia, at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis boards the airplane on the occasion of his trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia, at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis waves to journalists as he boards the airplane on the occasion of his trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia, at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis waves to journalists as he boards the airplane on the occasion of his trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia, at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • People gather at the Kosevo Stadium to attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, in Sarajevo, Saturday, June 6, 2015. Pope Francis is heading to Sarajevo for a one-day visit to encourage the dwindling number of Catholics to stay and help forge a peaceful future with Bosnia's Muslims and Orthodox Christians following a devastating three-way war. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    People gather at the Kosevo Stadium to attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, in Sarajevo, Saturday, June 6, 2015. Pope Francis is heading to Sarajevo for a one-day visit to encourage the dwindling number of Catholics to stay and help forge a peaceful future with Bosnia's Muslims and Orthodox Christians following a devastating three-way war. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis is heading to Sarajevo for a one-day visit to encourage the dwindling number of Catholics to stay and help forge a peaceful future with Bosnia's Muslims and Orthodox Christians following a devastating three-way war.

Some 100,000 people are expected to come from across the region to Sarajevo, a largely Muslim city of 300,000 that was once known as "Europe's Jerusalem" for its interfaith harmony among Christians, Muslims and Jews. It became synonymous with religious enmity during the 1992-95 conflict that left 100,000 dead and displaced half of the population.

Francis has said he is coming to Bosnia to support its post-war process of reconciliation, but to also encourage the tiny Catholic Croat community, which represents only about 15 percent of the population.