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Pope will visit Holy Land in May

Catholic World News - January 06, 2014

Pope Francis will visit to Holy Land in May 2014, making a 3-day visit that will include stops in Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

The Pope’s trip will take place May 24 to 26. The highlight of the visit is expected to be a meeting with all the Christian leaders of Jerusalem, at the basilica of the Holy Sepluchre. The Pontiff will also visit Bethlehem and Amman, Jordan.

The trip to the Holy Land—the only papal voyage on the Pope’s calendar thus far for 2014—was widely anticipated, but had not been officially announced by the Vatican. Israeli government officials had reported, inaccurately, that the Pope will visit in March.

The Pope announced plans for his trip during his regular midday audience on Sunday, January 5. His announcement came on the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI met and the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras. That meeting, held in Jerusalem as Pope Paul made the first foreign trip of his pontificate, marked the first meeting between a Roman Pontiff and the Patriarch of Constantinople since the great schism of 1054.

Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI also traveled to Israel—in 2000 and 2009, respectively.

Bishop William Shomali, an auxiliary of the Latin-rite patriarchate of Jerusalem, told Vatican Radio that the people of Israel have high expectations for the papal visit. “Christians, Jews, and Muslims are counting on this visit to intensify the ecumenical and inter-religious relationships,” he said.

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