Monday, May 4, 2009

UPDATES: Papal Visit to the Holy Land

Source: Vatican You Tube

Catholic News Agency reports:

Vatican City, May 4, 2009 / 10:27 am (CNA).- Members of the Papal Foundation met with Pope Benedict on Saturday and heard him speak about his trip to the Holy Land later this week. He told the foundation that he will go as "a pilgrim of peace" to a land that has been marred by violence and injustice for 60 years.

Pope Benedict began the audience by greeting Cardinal William Keeler, the other cardinals and bishops present and the lay members of the foundation with St. Paul’s words-- "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Taking stock of the current state of the world, the Holy Father noted how "today's world is truly in need of His peace, especially as it faces the tragedies of war, division, poverty and despair."

As he prepares to embark on his journey to the Holy Land on May 8, Benedict XVI told the group, "I go as a pilgrim of peace."

"As you are well aware," he said, "for more than sixty years, this region - the land of our Lord's birth, death and Resurrection; a sacred place for the world's three great monotheistic religions - has been plagued by violence and injustice. This has led to a general atmosphere of mistrust, uncertainty and fear - often pitting neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. "

"As I prepare for this significant journey," he added, "I ask in a special way that you join me in prayer for all the peoples of the Holy Land and the region. May they receive the gifts of reconciliation, hope and peace."

Every year since its founding in 1990, members of the Papal Foundation have traveled to Rome to give the Pope a donation for his charitable activities. This year, Pope Benedict noted that their meeting is taking place "during a time when the entire world is struggling with a very worrying economic situation."

"At moments such as these it is tempting to overlook those without a voice and think only of our own difficulties. As Christians we are aware, however, that especially when times are difficult we must work even harder to ensure that the consoling message of our Lord is heard," the Holy Father said.

"Rather than turning in on ourselves, we must continue to be beacons of hope, strength and support for others, most especially those who have no one to watch over or assist them," he exhorted.

The Pope thanked the foundation’s members for their "sacrifice and dedication" and expressed his gratitude. Their generosity, he said, enables "the Easter message of joy, hope, reconciliation and peace is more widely proclaimed." has the full Papal itinerary in Israel listed:

Monday, May 11

11:00 Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Official Welcoming Ceremony

12:05 Arrival at Mount Scopus helipad, Jerusalem. Welcoming Ceremony by Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat.
16:05 Visit to the President’s Residence

17:30 Visit to Yad Vashem, Memorial ceremony at the Remembrance Hall; Wreath laying; Address by the Pope.

19:00 Interfaith Meeting, Notre Dame Hotel

Tuesday, May 12

09:15 Meeting with the Mufti, Temple Mount

10:00 Visit to the Western Wall

10:35 Meeting with the Chief Rabbis, Heichal Shlomo

12:00 Visit to the Church of Dormition — site of the Last Supper

12:30 Visit and Prayer at Latin Patriarch

16:15 Mass at the Garden of Gethsemane

Wednesday, May 13

08:00-19:00 Visit to Bethlehem

Thursday, May 14

09:15 Arrival in Nazareth, Welcoming Ceremony and the Ceremony of Bread and Salt
Reception by Mayor of Nazareth.

10:00 Mass at Mount of the Precipice

15:50 Meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Church of the Annunciation

16:30 Meeting with the Faith Heads in Israel, Church of the Annunciation

17:30 Prayer at the Church of the Annunciation

19:00 Return to Jerusalem

Friday, May 15

09:15 Meeting at the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch

10:00 Visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

13:30 Leaving Ceremony, Ben Gurion Airport.

Lastly, Catholic Friends of Israel informs us of a new website here, initiated by the Israeli Foreign Ministry apropos the Holy Father's visit.

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