papal visit to holy land

Editorial | Pope Francis and a land so loved

The recent film "Jerusalem" that played at the St. Louis Science Center eloquently made the point that the city was a sacred place long before it had synagogues, churches and mosques.

The film followed three teenage girls, each a member of the three major world religions that share the Holy City, and the girls met at the end of the filming. Though they lived close to each other, they have had little contact with people from other religions. Yet, they were curious about each other and shared a love of Jerusalem.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Peace isn't mass-produced but handcrafted by ordinary people

Pope Francis walked with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 25, the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis called on the world's Christians to pray with him for peace in the Middle East, help convince governments to come to the aid of refugees and pray for Christian unity.

While peace is a gift from God, it also is built out of the day-to-day handiwork of individuals: true "artisans of peace," who are capable of crafting fraternity and reconciliation with people of all cultures and religions, he said at his general audience in St. Peter's Square May 28.

Pope Francis thanks religious for their presence in Holy Land

JERUSALEM -- Pope Francis dedicated his final hours in Jerusalem to time with local Catholics, reminding them that despite difficulties, God is always by their 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," he told priests, men and women religious and seminarians in the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives.

Supporting their vocations, he told them their presence in the Holy Land was very important, and the church was grateful to them.

Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Rome to pray for peace

BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Pope Francis invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray together at the Vatican for peace between their nations.

The pope made the announcement May 25, after praying the "Regina Coeli" at the end of Mass in Bethlehem's Manger Square.

Earlier in the day, he made an unscheduled stop to pray before a controversial separation wall, built by Israel over Palestinian protests, between its territory and the West Bank.

Pope urges Palestinian refugees to look to future

Pope Francis stopped in front of the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, West Bank, May 25

BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Pope Francis told young Palestinian refugees to look to the future and to always work and strive for the things they wanted.

"Remember that violence cannot be defeated by violence; violence can only be defeated with peace -- with peace, effort and dignity to move the nation forward," he told those who greeted him during a 20-minute visit at the Dehiyshe Refugee Camp's Phoenix Cultural Center.

On last morning in Holy Land, pope reaches out to Muslims, Jews

Pope Francis embraced Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 26. Looking on 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.

JERUSALEM -- 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 May 26, 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.

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