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Apostles of Unity in the Holy Land

Pope Francis makes an historic trip to the Holy Land, his first ever, from 24-26 May, in a visit that will focus on Christian unity. As Catholic News Service put it recently:

The Vatican has emphasized that the pope’s main purpose on the trip is to meet in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, considered first among equals by Orthodox bishops. The official logo for the papal visit is an icon of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, patron saints of the churches of Rome and Constantinople, joined in a fraternal embrace.

The pope will be visiting Jordan, Palestine and Israel and celebrate Mass in all three countries. He will meet a wide range of people, from heads of state and royalty to religious and refugees. It promises to be an extraordinary visit — in every sense of the term, a pilgrimage.

We’ll be following the trip closely and posting updates on this page. So please be sure to bookmark it and check back frequently.

In one of the most dramatic moments during his trip, Pope Francis stops to pray in front of
                      the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, 25 on May.
                                      (photo: CNS/ L’Osservatore Romano, pool)

Pope reaches out to Muslims, Jews (CNS) Pope Francis spent the last morning of his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land meeting with Muslims and Jews and calling for closer relations among the three major monotheistic religions as the basis for peace in the region. At his first appearance 26 May, Pope Francis toured the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims as the place from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, and spoke to Muslim leaders. Addressing his listeners as “brothers” — rather than “friends,” as indicated in his prepared text — the pope pointed to Abraham as a common model for Muslims, Jews and Christians, since he was a pilgrim who left “his own people and his own house in order to embark on that spiritual journey to which God called him...”

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