Photo Story of Pope Francis’ Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Pope Francis blesses a Palestinian journalist aboard the papal plane on his flight to Amman, Jordan, May 24, the start of his three-day visit to the Holy Land. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis blesses a Palestinian journalist aboard the papal plane on his flight to Amman, Jordan, May 24, the start of his three-day visit to the Holy Land. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis is welcomed by Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal after arrival at Queen Alia International Airport in AmmanThe Holy Father is welcomed by Jordan’s Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal after arrival at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman May 24. (CNS photo/Muhammad Hamed, Reuters)
 
barPope Francis is welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II after arriving in Amman May 24.Jordan’s King Abdullah II welcomes Pope Francis  after arriving in Amman May 24. (CNS photo/Ali Jarekji, Reuters)
 
barPope Francis is welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, during an arrival ceremony at the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman May 24. The pope is making a three-day visit to the Holy Land, spending one day each in Jordan, the Pales tinian territories and Israel. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis is welcomed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, during an arrival ceremony at the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman May 24. Here is Pope Francis’ address to the Jordanian authorities. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis is welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II, his wife, Queen Rania, and their children upon his arrival at the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, May 24. The pope is making a three-day visit to the Holy Land, spending one day each in Jo rdan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Upon his arrival at the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, May 24, Pope Francis is welcomed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, his wife, Queen Rania, and their children. The Holy Father made a three-day visit to the Holy Land, spending one day each in Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barA Palestinian man holds a picture of Pope Francis during a May 24 demonstration calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and in solidarity with prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 31 days in Tulkarm, West Bank. (CNS photo/Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters) A Palestinian man holds a picture of Pope Francis during a May 24 demonstration calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and in solidarity with prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 31 days in Tulkarm, West Bank. (CNS photo/Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters)
 
barJordan's King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, arrive with Pope Francis as the pontiff visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan May 24, believed to be where Jesus was baptized, southwest of Amman. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania, arrive with Pope Francis as the pontiff visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan May 24, believed to be where Jesus was baptized, southwest of Amman. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis makes the Sign of the Cross after praying as he visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan May 24, believed to be where Jesus was baptized, southwest of Amman. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis makes the Sign of the Cross after praying as he visits Bethany Beyond the Jordan May 24 (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis' skull cap is blown into the air as he delivers his homily during Mass at Amman International Stadium in Jordan May 24. The pope is making a three-day visit to the Holy Land, spending one day each in Jordan, the Palestinian territories and I srael. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)The Holy Father’s skull cap is blown into the air as he delivers his homily during Mass at Amman International Stadium in Jordan May 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis meets with refugees and disabled young people in the Latin church at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the traditional site of Jesus' baptism, southwest of Amman, Jordan, May 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis met with refugees and disabled young people in the Latin church at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism, southwest of Amman, Jordan, May 24. Here is his address. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis prays in front of the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, pool) Pope Francis prays in front of the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, pool)
 
barPope Francis bows towards the flag of the Palestinian Authority as he reviews the honor guard during an arrival ceremony with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) The Holy Father bows towards the flag of the Palestinian Authority as he reviews the honor guard during an arrival ceremony with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. Here is his address to Palestinian authorities. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis celebrates Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. Here is his homily. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis visits with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis visits with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barEcumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople prays during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (CNS photo/courtesy John Mindala) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople prays during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (CNS photo/courtesy John Mindala)
 
barFamily chosen to eat with pope after Mass in Bethlehem George Sbait and his wife, Shadia, pose with their children, Caesar, 13, and Nicole, 15, in front of a section of the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 24. The Sbaits had lunch with Pope Francis in Bethlehem May 25. (CNS photo/Debbie H ill) Family chosen to eat with Pope Francis after Mass in Bethlehem: George Sbait and his wife, Shadia, with their children, Caesar, 13, and Nicole, 15, in front of a section of the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 24. The Sbaits had lunch with Pope Francis in Bethlehem May 25. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)
 
barPope Francis prays in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25, the traditional site of Christ's birth. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters) Pope Francis prays in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25, the traditional site of Christ’s birth. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
 
barPope Francis is greeted by young people during a meetingMay 25 in the Dehiyshe Refugee Camp's Phoenix Cultural Center, near Bethlehem, West Bank. Pope Francis told Palestinian refugee youths to look to the future and to always work and strive for the thi ngs they wanted. (CNS photo/Andrew Medichini, pool via Reuters)Young people greeted Pope Francis  during a meeting May 25 in the Dehiyshe Refugee Camp’s Phoenix Cultural Center, near Bethlehem, West Bank. The Holy Father told Palestinian refugee youths to look to the future and to always work and strive for the things they wanted. (CNS photo/Andrew Medichini, pool via Reuters)
 
barPope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople attend an ecumenical celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem May 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople attended an ecumenical celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem May 25. Here is Pope Francis’ address during the Ecumenical Service. Prior to the Ecumenical Service, a Common Declaration was signed by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople kiss the Stone of Unction in Jeusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 25. The two leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch At henagoras. (CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka, pool)Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople kiss the Stone of Unction in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 25. The two leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. (CNS photo/Grzegorz Galazka, pool)
 
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Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. The pope stood for more than a minute and a half with his right hand against the wall, most of the time in silent prayer, before reciting the Our Father. Then he followed custom by leaving a wri tten message inside a crack between two blocks. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)The Holy Father prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. The pope stood for more than a minute and a half with his right hand against the wall, most of the time in silent prayer, before reciting the Our Father. Then he followed custom by leaving a written message inside a crack between two blocks. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis is embraced by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka as he leaves after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. On the right is Omar Abboud, Muslim leader from Argentina. "We did it," Rabbi Skorka said he told the pope and Abboud. The pope 's message contained the text of the Our Father and of the 122nd Psalm, traditionally prayed by Jewish pilgrims who travel to Jerusalem.(CNS photo/Paul Haring) (May 26, 2014) (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis is embraced by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka as he leaves after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. On the right is Omar Abboud, Muslim leader from Argentina. “We did it,” Rabbi Skorka said he told the pope and Abboud. The pope ‘s message contained the text of the Our Father and of the 122nd Psalm, traditionally prayed by Jewish pilgrims who travel to Jerusalem.(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis visits with Israel's two chief rabbis, Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, left, and Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, in at the Heichal Shlomo center in Jerusalem May 26. Looking on is the pope's translator. The pope told them that Jews were not collec tively responsible for the death of Jesus and called on Christians and Jews to develop greater appreciation for their common "spiritual heritage," through deeper knowledge of each other's faith, especially among the young. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)On May 26 Pope Francis visited Israel’s two chief rabbis, Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, left, and Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, in at the Heichal Shlomo center in Jerusalem. The pope told them that Jews were not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus and called on Christians and Jews to develop greater appreciation for their common “spiritual heritage,” through deeper knowledge of each other’s faith, especially among the young. Here is his address. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
baraddress at the visit of the Grand Mufti of JerusalemPope Francis met with Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. “May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters and learn to understand the sufferings of others … May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace!” said Pope Francis in his address during the visit.
 
barPope Francis greets Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem May 26. The pope told Peres that he wanted to "invent a new beatitude, which I apply to myself, 'Blessed is the one welcomed into the home of a wise and good man.'" (CNS photo/ Tsafrir Abayov, EPA) On May 26 Pope Francis met Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. The pope told Peres that he wanted to “invent a new beatitude, which I apply to myself, ‘Blessed is the one welcomed into the home of a wise and good man.’” Here is his address. (CNS photo/ Tsafrir Abayo v, EPA)
 
barPope Francis and Israel's President Shimon Peres plant an olive tree as a symbol for peace after their meeting at the president's residence May 26. (CNS photo/ Amir Cohen, EPA) Pope Francis and Israel’s President Shimon Peres plant an olive tree as a symbol for peace after their meeting at the president’s residence May 26. (CNS photo/ Amir Cohen, EPA)
 
barPope Francis visits a memorial at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem May 26. Theodor Herzl was the father of the Zionist movement that led to Israel's founding. (CNS photo/ OSSERVATORE ROMANO handout, EPA) Pope Francis visits a memorial at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem May 26. Theodor Herzl was the father of the Zionist movement that led to Israel’s founding. (CNS photo/ OSSERVATORE ROMANO handout, EPA)
 
barPope Francis visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem May 26. The pope laid a wreath of flowers at the site, and talked to and kissed the hands of six Holocaust survivors. Also in attendance are Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (CNS photo/ OSSERVATORE ROMANO handout, EPA)Pope Francis visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem May 26. The pope laid a wreath of flowers at the site, and talked to and kissed the hands of six Holocaust survivors. Also in attendance were Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here is his address. (CNS photo/ OSSERVATORE ROMANO handout, EPA)

barPope Francis kisses the hand of a woman during a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem May 26. The pope honored the 6 million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. (CNS photo/Abi r Sultan, EPA) Pope Francis kisses the hand of a woman during a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem May 26. The pope honored the 6 million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. (CNS photo/Abi r Sultan, EPA)
 
barPope Francis arrives to meet priests, men and women religious and seminarians in the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem May 26. "[God] never abandons us. And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but wi th courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission," he told them. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Pope Francis arrives to meet priests, men and women religious and seminarians in the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem May 26. “[God] never abandons us. And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but wi th courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission,” he told them. Here is his address. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis celebrates Mass with the ordinaries of the Holy Land and the papal delegation in the Cenacle in Jerusalem May 26. The pope dedicated his final hours in Jerusalem to time with local Catholics, reminding them that despite difficulties, God is always by their side. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) The Holy Father  celebrates Mass with the ordinaries of the Holy Land and the papal delegation in the Cenacle in Jerusalem May 26. The pope dedicated his final hours in Jerusalem to time with local Catholics, reminding them that despite difficulties, God is always by their side. Here is his homily. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
 
barPope Francis boards an airplane at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv May 26. The pope ended a three-day Holy Land pilgrimage rife with calls for bridging divisions. (CNS photo/Oliver Weiken, EPA) The Holy Father boards an airplane at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv May 26. The three-day Holy Land pilgrimage was rife with calls for bridging divisions. (CNS photo/Oliver Weiken, EPA)
 
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Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard the flight from Tel Aviv to Rome May 26. The pope told them he will meet with a group of sex abuse victims for the first time in June and confirmed reports the Vatican is investigating charges its fo rmer secretary of state misappropriated 15 million euro from the Vatican bank. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis answered questions from journalists aboard the flight from Tel Aviv to Rome May 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis’ Homily Mass with Ordinaries of the Holy Land

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Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Mass with Ordinaries of the Holy Land

Upper Room, Jerusalem, 26 May 2014

Dear Brothers,

It is a great gift that the Lord has given us by bringing us together here in the Upper Room for the celebration of the Eucharist.  Here, where Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles; where, after his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; where the Holy Spirit descended with power upon Mary and the disciples.  Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.

In the Upper Room, the risen Jesus, sent by the Father, bestowed upon the apostles his own Spirit and with this power he sent them forth to renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30).

To go forth, to set out, does not mean to forget.  The Church, in her going forth, preserves the memory of what took place here; the Spirit, the Paraclete, reminds her of every word and every action, and reveals their true meaning.

The Upper Room speaks to us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.

The Upper Room reminds us, through the Eucharist, of sacrifice.  In every Eucharistic celebration Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so that we too can be united with him, offering to God our lives, our work, our joys and our sorrows… offering everything as a spiritual sacrifice.

The Upper Room reminds us of friendship.  “No longer do I call you servants – Jesus said to the Twelve – but I have called you friends” (Jn 15:15).  The Lord makes us his friends, he reveals God’s will to us and he gives us his very self.  This is the most beautiful part of being a Christian and, especially, of being a priest: becoming a friend of the Lord Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of the Teacher’s farewell and his promise to return to his friends: “When I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:3).  Jesus does not leave us, nor does he ever abandon us; he precedes us to the house of the Father, where he desires to bring us as well.

The Upper Room, however, also reminds us of pettiness, of curiosity – “Who is the traitor?” – and of betrayal.  We ourselves, and not just others, can reawaken those attitudes whenever we look at our brother or sister with contempt, whenever we judge them, whenever by our sins we betray Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of sharing, fraternity, harmony and peace among ourselves.  How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room!  How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent.  All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, the Upper Room reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary.  Christian families belong to this great family, and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life.  All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in Heaven.

These horizons are opened up by the Upper Room, the horizons of the Risen Lord and his Church.

Pope Francis’ Address at the meeting with priests, religious and seminarians

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“He came out and went… to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him” (Lk 22:39).

At the hour which God had appointed to save humanity from its enslavement to sin, Jesus came here, to Gethsemane, to the foot of the Mount of Olives.  We now find ourselves in this holy place, a place sanctified by the prayer of Jesus, by his agony, by his sweating of blood, and above all by his “yes” to the loving will of the Father.  We dread in some sense to approach what Jesus went through at that hour; we tread softly as we enter that inner space where the destiny of the world was decided.

In that hour, Jesus felt the need to pray and to have with him his disciples, his friends, those who had followed him and shared most closely in his mission.  But here, at Gethsemane, following him became difficult and uncertain; they were overcome by doubt, weariness and fright.  As the events of Jesus’ passion rapidly unfolded, the disciples would adopt different attitudes before the Master: closeness, distance, hesitation.

Here, in this place, each of us – bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and seminarians – might do well to ask: Who am I, before the sufferings of my Lord?

Am I among those who, when Jesus asks them to keep watch with him, fall asleep instead, and rather than praying, seek to escape, refusing to face reality?

Do I see myself in those who fled out of fear, who abandoned the Master at the most tragic hour in his earthly life?

Is there perhaps duplicity in me, like that of the one who sold our Lord for thirty pieces of silver, who was once called Jesus’ “friend”, and yet ended up by betraying him?

Do I see myself in those who drew back and denied him, like Peter?  Shortly before, he had promised Jesus that he would follow him even unto death (cf. Lk 22:33); but then, put to the test and assailed by fear, he swore he did not know him.

Am I like those who began planning to go about their lives without him, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, foolish and slow of heart to believe the words of the prophets (cf. Lk 24:25)?

Or, thanks be to God, do I find myself among those who remained faithful to the end, like the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John?  On Golgotha, when everything seemed bleak and all hope seemed pointless, only love proved stronger than death.  The love of the Mother and the beloved disciple made them stay at the foot of the Cross, sharing in the pain of Jesus, to the very end.

Do I recognize myself in those who imitated their Master and Lord to the point of martyrdom, testifying that he was everything to them, the incomparable strength sustaining their mission and the ultimate horizon of their lives?

Jesus’ friendship with us, his faithfulness and his mercy, are a priceless gift which encourages us to follow him trustingly, our failures, our mistakes and betrayals notwithstanding.

But the Lord’s goodness does not dispense us from the need for vigilance before the Tempter, before sin, before the evil and the betrayal which can enter even into the religious and priestly life.  We are fully conscious of the disproportion between the grandeur of God’s call and of own littleness, between the sublimity of the mission and the reality of our human weakness.  Yet the Lord in his great goodness and his infinite mercy always takes us by the hand lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties.  He is ever at our side, he never abandons us.  And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but with courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission.

You, dear brothers and sisters, are called to follow the Lord with joy in this holy land!  It is a gift and it is a responsibility.  Your presence here is extremely important; the whole Church is grateful to you and she sustains you by her prayers.

Let us imitate the Virgin Mary and Saint John, and stand by all those crosses where Jesus continues to be crucified.  This is how the Lord calls us to follow him.

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also” (Jn 12:26).

Pope Francis’ Address to the President of Israel

Pope to Peres

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Visit to the President of Israel
Jerusalem, 26 May 2014

Mr President,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to you, Mr President, for your kind greeting and your words of welcome.  I am happy to be able to meet you once again, this time in Jerusalem, the city which preserves the Holy Places dear to the three great religions which worship the God who called Abraham.  The Holy Places are not monuments or museums for tourists, but places where communities of believers daily express their faith and culture, and carry out their works of charity.  Precisely for this reason, their sacred character must be perpetually maintained and protection given not only to the legacy of the past but also to all those who visit these sites today and to those who will visit them in the future.  May Jerusalem be truly the City of Peace!  May her identity and her sacred character, her universal religious and cultural significance shine forth as a treasure for all mankind!  How good it is when pilgrims and residents enjoy free access to the Holy Places and can freely take part in religious celebrations.

Mr President, you are known as a man of peace and a peacemaker.  I appreciate and admire the approach you have taken.  Peacemaking demands first and foremost respect for the dignity and freedom of every human person, which Jews, Christians and Muslims alike believe to be created by God and destined to eternal life.  This shared conviction enables us resolutely to pursue peaceful solutions to every controversy and conflict.  Here I renew my plea that all parties avoid initiatives and actions which contradict their stated determination to reach a true agreement and that they tirelessly work for peace, with decisiveness and tenacity.

There is likewise need for a firm rejection of all that is opposed to the cultivation of peace and respectful relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.  We think, for example, of recourse to violence and terrorism, all forms of discrimination on the basis of race or religion, attempts to impose one’s own point of view at the expense of the rights of others, anti-Semitism in all its possible expressions, and signs of intolerance directed against individuals or places of worship, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim. 

A variety of Christian communities live and work in the State of Israel.  They are an integral part of society and participate fully in its civic, political and cultural affairs.  Christians wish, as such, to contribute to the common good and the growth of peace; they wish to do so as full-fledged citizens who reject extremism in all its forms and are committed to fostering reconciliation and harmony. 

The presence of these communities and respect for their rights – as for the rights of all other religious groups and all minorities – are the guarantee of a healthy pluralism and proof of the vitality of democratic values as they are authentically embodied in the daily life and workings of the State.

Mr President, I assure you of my prayers for the institutions and the citizens of the State of Israel.  I likewise assure you of my constant prayer for the attainment of peace and all the inestimable goods which accompany it: security, tranquillity, prosperity and fraternity.  Finally, my thoughts turn to all those afflicted by the continuing crises in the Middle East.  I pray that their sufferings may soon be alleviated by an honourable resolution of hostilities.  Peace be upon Israel and the entire Middle East!  Shalom!

Pope Francis’ Address to the Chief Rabbis of Israel

Pope Francis at chief Rabbis

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
To the Two Chief Rabbis of Israel
Jerusalem, 26 May 2014

Distinguished Chief Rabbis of Israel,

I am particularly pleased to be here with you today.  I am grateful for your warm reception and your kind words of welcome.

As you know, from the time I was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I have counted many Jews among my friends.  Together we organized rewarding occasions of encounter and dialogue; with them I also experienced significant moments of sharing on a spiritual level.  In the first months of my pontificate, I was able to receive various organizations and representatives from the Jewish community worldwide.  As was the case with my predecessors, there have been many requests for such meetings.  Together with the numerous initiatives taking place on national and local levels, these testify to our mutual desire to know one another better, to listen to each other and to build bonds of true fraternity.

This journey of friendship represents one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council, and particularly of the Declaration Nostra Aetate, which proved so influential and whose fiftieth anniversary we will celebrate next year.  I am convinced that the progress which has been made in recent decades in the relationship between Jews and Catholics has been a genuine gift of God, one of those great works for which we are called to bless his holy name: “Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his love endures forever; who alone has wrought marvellous works, for his love endures forever” (Ps 135/136:3-4).

A gift of God, yes, but one which would not have come about without the efforts of so many courageous and generous people, Jews and Christians alike.  Here I would like to mention in particular the growing importance of the dialogue between the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.  Inspired by the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Holy Land, this dialogue was inaugurated in 2002 and is already in its twelfth year.  I would like to think that, in terms of the Jewish tradition of the Bar Mitzvah, it is just coming of age.  I am confident that it will continue and have a bright future in years to come.

We need to do more than simply establish reciprocal and respectful relations on a human level: we are also called, as Christians and Jews, to reflect deeply on the spiritual significance of the bond existing between us.  It is a bond whose origins are from on high, one which transcends our own plans and projects, and one which remains intact despite all the difficulties which, sadly, have marked our relationship in the past.

On the part of Catholics, there is a clear intention to reflect deeply on the significance of the Jewish roots of our own faith.  I trust that, with your help, on the part of Jews too, there will be a continued and even growing interest in knowledge of Christianity, also in this holy land to which Christians trace their origins.  This is especially to be hoped for among young people.

Mutual understanding of our spiritual heritage, appreciation for what we have in common and respect in matters on which we disagree: all these can help to guide us to a closer relationship, an intention which we put in God’s hands.  Together, we can make a great contribution to the cause of peace; together, we can bear witness, in this rapidly changing world, to the perennial importance of the divine plan of creation; together, we can firmly oppose every form of anti-Semitism and all other forms of discrimination.  May the Lord help us to walk with confidence and strength in his ways.  Shalom!

Pope Francis’ Address at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis Visit to the Memorial of Yad Vashem Jerusalem, 26 May 2014

“Adam, where are you?” (cf. Gen 3:9). Where are you, o man? What have you come to? In this place, this memorial of the Shoah, we hear God’s question echo once more: “Adam, where are you?” This question is charged with all the sorrow of a Father who has lost his child. The Father knew the risk of freedom; he knew that his children could be lost… yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss! Here, before the boundless tragedy of the Holocaust, That cry – “Where are you?” – echoes like a faint voice in an unfathomable abyss…

Adam, who are you?  I no longer recognize you. Who are you, o man?  What have you become? Of what horror have you been capable? What made you fall to such depths?

Certainly it is not the dust of the earth from which you were made. The dust of the earth is something good, the work of my hands. Certainly it is not the breath of life which I breathed into you. That breath comes from me, and it is something good (cf. Gen 2:7).

No, this abyss is not merely the work of your own hands, your own heart… Who corrupted you?  Who disfigured you? Who led you to presume that you are the master of good and evil? Who convinced you that you were god? Not only did you torture and kill your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god.

Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of God: “Adam, where are you?”

From the ground there rises up a soft cry: “Have mercy on us, O Lord!” To you, O Lord our God, belongs righteousness; but to us confusion of face and shame (cf. Bar 1:15).

A great evil has befallen us, such as never happened under the heavens (cf. Bar 2:2). Now, Lord, hear our prayer, hear our plea, save us in your mercy. Save us from this horror.

Almighty Lord, a soul in anguish cries out to you. Hear, Lord, and have mercy! We have sinned against you. You reign for ever (cf. Bar 3:1-2). Remember us in your mercy. Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what we men have done, to be ashamed of this massive idolatry, of having despised and destroyed our own flesh which you formed from the earth, to which you gave life with your own breath of life. Never again, Lord, never again!

“Adam, where are you?” Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing.

Remember us in your mercy. 

address yad vashem

Pope Francis visits the Grand Mufti and the Western Wall

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Visit to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, 26 May 2014

Dear Muslim Friends,

I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with you in this sacred place. I thank you for the courteous invitation you have extended to me and, in particular, I wish to thank the Grand Mufti and the President of the Supreme Muslim Council.

Following in the footsteps of my predecessors, and in particular the historic visit of Pope Paul VI fifty years ago, the first visit of a Pope to the Holy Land, I have greatly desired to come as a pilgrim to the places which witnessed the earthly presence of Jesus Christ. But my pilgrimage would not be complete if it did not also include a meeting with the people and the communities who live in this Land. I am particularly happy, therefore, to be with you, dear Muslim friends.

At this moment I think of Abraham, who lived as a pilgrim in these lands. Muslims, Christians and Jews see in him, albeit in different ways, a father in faith and a great example to be imitated. He became a pilgrim, leaving his own people and his own house in order to embark on that spiritual adventure to which God called him.

A pilgrim is a person who makes himself poor and sets forth on a journey. Pilgrims set out intently toward a great and longed-for destination, and they live in the hope of a promise received (cf. Heb 11:8-19). This was how Abraham lived, and this should be our spiritual attitude. We can never think ourselves self-sufficient, masters of our own lives. We cannot be content with remaining withdrawn, secure in our convictions. Before the mystery of God we are all poor. We realize that we must constantly be prepared to go out from ourselves, docile to God’s call and open to the future that he wishes to create for us.

In our earthly pilgrimage we are not alone. We cross paths with other brothers and sisters of ours; at times we share with them a stretch of the road and at other times we experience with them a moment of rest which refreshes us. Such is our meeting today, for which I am particularly grateful. It is a welcome and shared moment of rest, made possible by your hospitality, on the pilgrimage of our life and that of our communities. We are experiencing a fraternal dialogue and exchange which are able to restore us and offer us new strength to confront the common challenges before us.

Nor can we forget that the pilgrimage of Abraham was also a summons to righteousness: God wanted him to witness his way of acting and to imitate him. We too wish to witness to God’s working in the world, and so, precisely in this meeting, we hear deep within us his summons to work for peace and justice, to implore these gifts in prayer and to learn from on high mercy, magnanimity and compassion.

Dear friends, from this holy place I make a heartfelt plea to all people and to all communities who look to Abraham: may we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters! May we learn to understand the sufferings of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace!

Pope Francis at the Ecumenical Celebration in Jerusalem

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Ecumenical Celebration in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, 25 May 2014

In this Basilica, which all Christians regard with the deepest veneration, my pilgrimage in the company of my beloved brother in Christ, His Holiness Bartholomaios, now reaches its culmination.  We are making this pilgrimage in the footsteps of our venerable predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, who, with courage and docility to the Holy Spirit, made possible, fifty years ago, in this holy city of Jerusalem, an historic meeting between the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople. I cordially greet all of you who are present.  In a special way I express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have made this moment possible: His Beatitude Theophilos, who has welcomed us so graciously, His Beatitude Nourhan Manoogian and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

It is an extraordinary grace to be gathered here in prayer.  The empty tomb, that new garden grave where Joseph of Arimathea had reverently placed Jesus’ body, is the place from which the proclamation of the resurrection begins: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead’” (Mt 28:5-7).  This proclamation, confirmed by the testimony of those to whom the risen Lord appeared, is the heart of the Christian message, faithfully passed down from generation to generation, as the Apostle Paul, from the very beginning, bears witness: “I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).  This is the basis of the faith which unites us, whereby together we profess that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father and our sole Lord, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead” (Apostles’ Creed).  Each of us, everyone baptized in Christ, has spiritually risen from this tomb, for in baptism all of us truly became members of the body of the One who is the Firstborn of all creation; we were buried together with him, so as to be raised up with him and to walk in newness of life (cf. Rom 6:4).

Let us receive the special grace of this moment.  We pause in reverent silence before this empty tomb in order to rediscover the grandeur of our Christian vocation: we are men and women of resurrection, and not of death.  From this place we learn how to live our lives, the trials of our Churches and of the whole world, in the light of Easter morning.  Every injury, every one of our pains and sorrows, has been borne on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd who offered himself in sacrifice and thereby opened the way to eternal life.  His open wounds are the cleft through which the torrent of his mercy is poured out upon the world.  Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the basis of our hope!  Let us not deprive the world of the joyful message of the resurrection!  And let us not be deaf to the powerful summons to unity which rings out from this very place, in the words of the One who, risen from the dead, calls all of us “my brothers” (cf. Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17).

Clearly we cannot deny the divisions which continue to exist among us, the disciples of Jesus: this sacred place makes us even more painfully aware of how tragic they are.  And yet, fifty years after the embrace of those two venerable Fathers, we realize with gratitude and renewed amazement how it was possible, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to take truly significant steps towards unity.  We know that much distance still needs to be travelled before we attain that fullness of communion which can also be expressed by sharing the same Eucharistic table, something we ardently desire; yet our disagreements must not frighten us and paralyze our progress.  We need to believe that, just as the stone before the tomb was cast aside, so too every obstacle to our full communion will also be removed.  This will be a grace of resurrection, of which we can have a foretaste even today.  Every time we ask forgiveness of one another for our sins against other Christians and every time we find the courage to grant and receive such forgiveness, we experience the resurrection!   Every time we put behind us our longstanding prejudices and find the courage to build new fraternal relationships, we confess that Christ is truly risen!   Every time we reflect on the future of the Church in the light of her vocation to unity, the dawn of Easter breaks forth!  Here I reiterate the hope already expressed by my predecessors for a continued dialogue with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, aimed at finding a means of exercising the specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome which, in fidelity to his mission, can be open to a new situation and can be, in the present context, a service of love and of communion acknowledged by all (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Ut Unum Sint, 95-96).

Standing as pilgrims in these holy places, we also remember in our prayers the entire Middle East, so frequently and lamentably marked by acts of violence and conflict.  Nor do we forget in our prayers the many other men and women who in various parts of our world are suffering from war, poverty and hunger, as well as the many Christians who are persecuted for their faith in the risen Lord.  When Christians of different confessions suffer together, side by side, and assist one another with fraternal charity, there is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood, which proves particularly powerful not only for those situations in which it occurs, but also, by virtue of the communion of the saints, for the whole Church as well.

Your Holiness, beloved brother, dear brothers and sisters all, let us put aside the misgivings we have inherited from the past and open our hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love (cf. Rom 5:5) and of truth (cf. Jn 16:13), in order to hasten together towards that blessed day when our full communion will be restored.  In making this journey, we feel ourselves sustained by the prayer which Jesus himself, in this city, on the eve of his passion, death and resurrection, offered to the Father for his disciples.  It is a prayer which we ourselves in humility never tire to make our own: “that they may all be one… that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).

 

 

Patriarch Bartholomew’s Homily at Ecumenical Service

patriarch address

Holy Sepulchre, May 25, 2014

“Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matt. 28.5-6)

Your Holiness and dearly beloved brother in Christ,
Your Beatitude Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, much loved brother and concelebrant in the Lord,
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, and very reverend representatives of the Christian churches and confessions,
Esteemed brothers and sisters,

It is with awe, emotion and respect that we stand before “the place where the Lord lay,” the life-giving tomb from which life emerged. And we offer glory to the all-merciful God, who rendered us, His unworthy servants, worthy of this supreme blessing to become pilgrims in the place where the mystery of the world’s salvation transpired. “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen. 28.17)

We have come as the myrrh-bearing women, on the first day of the week, “to see the sepulchre” (Matt. 28.1), and we too, like they, hear the angelic exhortation: “Do not be afraid.” Remove from your hearts every fear; do not hesitate; do not despair. This Tomb radiates messages of courage, hope and life.

The first and greatest message from this empty Sepulchre is that death, “this last enemy” of ours (see 1 Cor. 15.26), the source of all fears and passions, has been conquered; it no longer holds the final word in our life. It has been overcome by love, by Him, who voluntarily accepted to endure death for the sake of others. Every death for the sake of love, for the sake of another, is transformed into life, true life. “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.”

Do not, then, be afraid of death; but do not also be afraid of evil, despite any form that this might assume in our life. The Cross of Christ amassed all the arrows of evil: hatred, violence, injustice, pain, humiliation – everything that is suffered by the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed, the exploited, the marginalized and the disgraced in our world. However, rest assured – all of you who are crucified in this life – that, just as in the case of Christ, the Resurrection follows the cross; that hatred, violence and injustice have no prospect; and that the future belongs to justice, love and life. Therefore, you should work toward this end with all the resources that you have in love, faith and patience.

Nonetheless, there is another message that emanates from this venerable Tomb, before which we stand at this moment. This is the message that history cannot be programmed; that the ultimate word in history does not belong to man, but to God. In vain did the guards of secular power watch over this Tomb. In vain did they place a very large stone against the door of the Tomb, so that none could roll it away. In vain are the long-term strategies of the world’s powerful – everything is eventually contingent upon the judgment and will of God. Every effort of contemporary humanity to shape its future alone and without God constitutes vain conceit.

Lastly, this sacred Tomb invites us to shed another fear that is perhaps the most prevalent in our modern age: namely, fear of the other, fear of the different, fear of the adherent of another faith, another religion, or another confession. Racial and all other forms of discrimination are still widespread in many of our contemporary societies; what is worst is that they frequently even permeate the religious life of people. Religious fanaticism already threatens peace in many regions of the globe, where the very gift of life is sacrificed on the altar of religious hatred. In the face of such conditions, the message of the life-giving Tomb is urgent and clear: love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions. Love them as your brothers and sisters. Hatred leads to death, while love “casts out fear” (1 John 4.18) and leads to life.

Your Holiness,
Dear brother and sisters,

Fifty years ago, two great church leaders, the late Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, cast out fear; they cast away from themselves the fear which had prevailed for a millennium, a fear which had kept the two ancient Churches, of the West and East, at a distance from one another, sometimes even setting them up against each other. Instead, as they stood before this sacred space, they exchanged fear with love. And so here we are with His Holiness Pope Francis, as their successors, following in their footsteps and honoring their heroic initiative. We have exchanged an embrace of love, even as we continue along the path toward full communion with one another in love and truth (Eph. 4.15) in order “that the world may believe” (John 17.21) that no other way leads to life except the way of love, reconciliation, genuine peace and fidelity to the Truth.

This is the way that all Christians are called to follow in their relations among themselves – whatever church or confession they belong to – thereby providing an example for the rest of the world. The way may be long and arduous; indeed, to some it may occasionally seem like an impasse. However, it is the only way that leads to the fulfilment of the Lord’s will “that [His disciples] may be one.” (John 17.21) It is this divine will that opened the way traveled by the leader of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified and resurrected in this holy place. To Him belong glory and might, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.” (1 John 4.7)

Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

Commondeclaration

  1. Like our venerable predecessors Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who met here in Jerusalem fifty years ago, we too, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, were determined to meet in the Holy Land “where our common Redeemer, Christ our Lord, lived, taught, died, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, whence he sent the Holy Spirit on the infant Church” (Common communiqué of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, published after their meeting of 6 January 1964). Our meeting, another encounter of the Bishops of the Churches of Rome and Constantinople founded respectively by the two Brothers the Apostles Peter and Andrew, is a source of profound spiritual joy for us. It presents a providential occasion to reflect on the depth and the authenticity of our existing bonds, themselves the fruit of a grace-filled journey on which the Lord has guided us since that blessed day of fifty years ago.
     
  2. Our fraternal encounter today is a new and necessary step on the journey towards the unity to which only the Holy Spirit can lead us, that of communion in legitimate diversity. We call to mind with profound gratitude the steps that the Lord has already enabled us to undertake. The embrace exchanged between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras here in Jerusalem, after many centuries of silence, paved the way for a momentous gesture, the removal from the memory and from the midst of the Church of the acts of mutual excommunication in 1054. This was followed by an exchange of visits between the respective Sees of Rome and Constantinople, by regular correspondence and, later, by the decision announced by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dimitrios, of blessed memory both, to initiate a theological dialogue of truth between Catholics and Orthodox. Over these years, God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us to regard one another as members of the same Christian family, under one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, so that we may confess our faith in the same Gospel of Christ, as received by the Apostles and expressed and transmitted to us by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers. While fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion, today we confirm our commitment to continue walking together towards the unity for which Christ our Lord prayed to the Father so “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21).
     
  3. Well aware that unity is manifested in love of God and love of neighbour, we look forward in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet. As Christians, we are called to prepare to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion, according to the teaching of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Against Heresies, IV,18,5, PG 7,1028), through the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue. By achieving this hoped for goal, we will manifest to the world the love of God by which we are recognized as true disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 13:35).
     
  4. To this end, the theological dialogue undertaken by the Joint International Commission offers a fundamental contribution to the search for full communion among Catholics and Orthodox. Throughout the subsequent times of Popes John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, and Patriarch Dimitrios, the progress of our theological encounters has been substantial.  Today we express heartfelt appreciation for the achievements to date, as well as for the current endeavours. This is no mere theoretical exercise, but an exercise in truth and love that demands an ever deeper knowledge of each other’s traditions in order to understand them and to learn from them. Thus we affirm once again that the theological dialogue does not seek a theological lowest common denominator on which to reach a compromise, but is rather about deepening one’s grasp of the whole truth that Christ has given to his Church, a truth that we never cease to understand better as we follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Hence, we affirm together that our faithfulness to the Lord demands fraternal encounter and true dialogue. Such a common pursuit does not lead us away from the truth; rather, through an exchange of gifts, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will lead us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).
     
  5. Yet even as we make this journey towards full communion we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person at every stage of life and the sanctity of family based on marriage, in promoting peace and the common good, and in responding to the suffering that continues to afflict our world. We acknowledge that  hunger, poverty, illiteracy, the inequitable distribution of resources must constantly be addressed. It is our duty to seek to build together a just and humane society in which no-one feels excluded or emarginated.
     
  6. It is our profound conviction that the future of the human family depends also on how we safeguard – both prudently and compassionately, with justice and fairness – the gift of creation that our Creator has entrusted to us. Therefore, we acknowledge in repentance the wrongful mistreatment of our planet, which is tantamount to sin before the eyes of God. We reaffirm our responsibility and obligation to foster a sense of humility and moderation so that all may feel the need to respect creation and to safeguard it with care. Together, we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation; we appeal to all people of goodwill to consider ways of living less wastefully and more frugally, manifesting less greed and more generosity for the protection of God’s world and the benefit of His people.
     
  7. There is likewise an urgent need for effective and committed cooperation of Christians in order to safeguard everywhere the right to express publicly one’s faith and to be treated fairly when promoting that which Christianity continues to offer to contemporary society and culture. In this regard, we invite all Christians to promote an authentic dialogue with Judaism, Islam and other religious traditions. Indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict.
     
  8. From this holy city of Jerusalem, we express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands. In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general. We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples’ rights. We are persuaded  that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace.
     
  9. In an historical context marked by violence, indifference and egoism, many men and women today feel that they have lost their bearings. It is precisely through our common witness to the good news of the Gospel that we may be able to help the people of our time to rediscover the way that leads to truth, justice and peace. United in our intentions, and recalling the example, fifty years ago here in Jerusalem, of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, we call upon all Christians, together with believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will, to recognize the urgency of the hour that compels us to seek the reconciliation and unity of the human family, while fully respecting legitimate differences, for the good of all humanity and of future generations.
     
  10. In undertaking this shared pilgrimage to the site where our one same Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, we humbly commend to the intercession of the Most Holy and Ever Virgin Mary our future steps on the path towards the fullness of unity, entrusting to God’s infinite love the entire human family.

“ May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Num 6:25-26).