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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem says Pope would be ‘most welcome’ as pilgrim

April 01, 2013

In his Easter Sunday homily at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem spoke of the importance of Christian unity, challenged local Catholics to evangelize, and said that Pope Francis would be “most welcome” as a pilgrim in the Holy Land.

God “invites us here to carry the light of faith at the center of our region of the Middle East, where Christianity was born, where the Mother Church of Jerusalem was born, and where everything Christian was born,” said Patriarch Fouad Twal, who added:

That is why our new evangelization, in order to be up to date and effective, must start out again from Jerusalem: start out from the first Christian community who “devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42); and start out again from the first community rooted in the person of Christ, having a cause and ready to make any sacrifice to the point of martyrdom. Thus I renew my invitation to all pilgrims from around the world to come to the to the Holy Land, starting with our Pope Francis who will be most welcome.

Recalling the sufferings of Christians in Syria and the Holy Land, Patriarch Twal said that “to live in the Middle East as a Christian is not a choice but a vocation. To know the resurrection, one must know the cross.”


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