Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pope to travel to Holy Land in May amid peace push

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in May, his first visit to the Holy Land and one that comes amid a new U.S. push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Francis told thousands gathered in the rain for his weekly Sunday blessing that "in the climate of joy that is typical of the Christmas season," he was announcing a visit May 24-26 to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It is the only papal trip confirmed so far for 2014 and the second foreign trip of Francis' pontificate, following his 2013 visit to Brazil for World Youth Day.

Francis said his prime aim was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the then-spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Atengora. Catholics and Orthodox have been divided since the Great Schism of 1054, precipitated largely by disagreements over the primacy of the pope.

Francis will be the fourth pope to visit the Holy Land.

The visit also underscores Francis' close ties to the Jewish community, his outreach to Muslims and the Vatican's longstanding call for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

All three governments welcomed the papal visit.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa said President Mahmoud Abbas hoped it would "contribute to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people who aspire for freedom, justice and independence."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry Yigal Palmor said Francis was "will be greeted as warmly as his predecessors were."

Jordan's Royal Palace said the Amman leg of Francis' visit would mark a "significant milestone for brotherhood and forgiveness between Muslims and Christians and consolidates the message of peace."

Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

Associated Press

Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

Pope to travel to Holy Land in May amid peace push 01/05/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 12:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas sees spike in infant deaths from unsafe sleeping, and advocates are concerned

    Health

    The reports from the Department of Children and Families are tragic: A Pinellas County mother falls asleep on a recliner during an early morning feeding and wakes to find one of her 3-month-old twins unresponsive. Another finds her 6-month-old daughter lying still, a blanket over her head. Another infant is found wedged …

    Advocates are looking to step up their public information efforts this year after reports show a spike in sleep-related infant deaths in Pinellas County. [iStockphoto.com]
  2. Kellyanne Conway warns of health care spin, but then delivers her own in Miami

    Blogs

    On the same day that Senate Republicans were forced to delay a vote on their healthcare legislation because not enough of them wanted to vote for it, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway defended the bill in Miami.

    White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway is welcomed by state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-District 105, at the Miami-Dade GOP’s Lincoln Day fundraiser on Tuesday night.
  3. Sign up for our new daily News at Noon email newsletter

    News

    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  4. New poll shows tight St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    A new poll shows a tight race between former mayor Rick Baker and Mayor Rick Kriseman, currently engaged in the most expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg history. 

    Former Mayor Rick Baker answers a question during the mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday. Mayor Rick Kriseman is in the foreground.
  5. Review: Mark Bowden's 'Hue 1968' a gripping, and timely, history

    Books

    More than 40 years after it ended, America's war in Vietnam is still contentious, still misunderstood, and fast slipping into the fog of history.

     On Feb. 15, 1968, U.S. Marines carry out an assault on Dong Ba Tower in Hue, South Vietnam. In the battle for the tower, six men died and 50 were wounded.