Pope Francis in the Holy Land
· Schedule presented for the visit from 24-26 May ·
On Thursday morning, 27 March, the schedule for Pope Francis visit to the Holy Land was presented in the Holy See Press Office. The Holy Father will travel to the Holy Land from Saturday, 24 May to Monday, 26 May, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic embrace between Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem on 5 January 1964.
The Pope is scheduled to depart at 8:15 on Saturday morning, 24 May, and will arrive in Amman, Jordan at 1:00 pm local time. The welcome ceremony will take place at 1:45 pm at the Al-Husseini Royal Palace where he will pay a courtesy call to the King and Queen. At 2:20 pm the Holy Father will meet with authorities of the Kingdom of Jordan. At 4 pm he will celebrate Mass at the international stadium in the capital city of Jordan, and at 7 pm he will visit the site where Jesus was baptized in Bethany, on the banks of the River Jordan. There he will also meet with refugees and disabled young people in the Latin church.
On Sunday morning, 25 May, the Pontiff will go by helicopter to Bethlehem where he is scheduled to arrive at 9:30 am. The welcome ceremony will take place in the Presidential Palace where he will meet the President of the State of Palestine Abu Mazen. He will then meet with other Palestinian authorities. At 11 am he will celebrate Mass in Manger Square, followed by the Regina Caeli. Then at 1:30 pm Pope Francis will eat lunch with several Palestinian families at the Franciscan convent Casa Nova in Bethlehem. At 3 pm he is scheduled to visit privately the Grotto of the Nativity; he will go to the Phoenix center of the Dheisheh Refugee Camp to meet the children of the camps of Dheisheh, Aida and Beit Jibrin. Then just before 4 pm he will depart and go by helicopter to the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The Pope will arrive at 4:30 pm and a welcome ceremony will take place in Israel. At 5:15 pm he will travel to Jerusalem by helicopter where he will meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomaios I in the apostolic delegation for the signing of a joint declaration. At 7 pm at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre they will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic embrace between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. That evening the Pope will dine with the patriarch and bishops at the Latin Patriarchate.
The third day of the visit, 26 May, will begin with Pope Francis' visit to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the building of the Great Council. Visits to the Western Wall, Mount Herzl – where he will lay a wreath – and Yad Vashem will follow. At 10:45 am he will pay a courtesy call to the two chief Rabbis of Israel at the Heichal Shlomo Center near the Great Synagogue. Then at 11:45 am he will meet the President of Israel Shimon Peres in the Presidential Palace. At 1 pm Pope Francis will go to the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center where he will meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That afternoon at 3:30 pm he will visit privately with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I in a building near the Orthodox church on the Mount of Olives. Afterword he will meet with priests, men and women religious and seminarians in the Church of Gethsemane. At 5:20 pm the Pope will celebrate Mass with the ordinaries of the Holy Land in the Upper Room. At the end of the celebration he will return to Tel Aviv by helicopter where he will take his leave of Israel and depart for Rome.
The schedule was released as Patriarch Fouad Twal was holding a press conference at the Latin Patriarchate.
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