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Pope Says His Holy Land Trip Will Be ‘Strictly Religious’

22 May 2014 – By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Asking prayers for his 24-26 May trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis said his visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories would be “strictly religious.”

At the end of his weekly general audience on 21 May, Pope Francis told an estimated 50,000 people in St. Peter’s Square that he was about to make the trip.

The first reason for going, he said, “is to meet my brother, Bartholomew,” the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, to mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. The meeting launched a new era of ecumenical cooperation and dialogue.

“Peter and Andrew will meet once again, and this is very beautiful,” the pope said. Pope Francis is considered the successor of the apostle Peter and Patriarch Bartholomew the successor of his brother, the apostle Andrew.

The pope said the second reason for his trip is “to pray for peace in that land that suffers so much.”

He asked the people in the square to pray for the success of the trip.

Pope Francis is scheduled to leave the Vatican early on 24 May and fly to Amman, Jordan, for a full day of meetings, a public Mass and an encounter with refugees and people with disabilities.

The next morning he is to fly to Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian leaders, a Mass and a meeting at a Palestinian refugee camp. The evening of 25 May, he plans to go to Jerusalem to meet Patriarch Bartholomew.

The last day of the trip, 26 May, the pope will meet with Muslim, Jewish and Israeli authorities in Jerusalem, pray at the Western Wall and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, then meet again with Patriarch Bartholomew and with Catholic groups.





Tags: Pope Francis Middle East Holy Land Holy Land Christians