Pope Francis to visit Holy Land

Jan. 5, 2014 at 12:56 PM

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Pope Francis announced at the Vatican Sunday he will visit the Holy Land in May.

Francis made the announcement in front of a crowd of people who braved rainy weather to hear his recital of the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, Vatican Radio reported.

"In the climate of joy, typical of this Christmas season, I wish to announce that ... [May 24-26], God willing, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land," the pope said.

The trip will commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras on Jan. 5, 1964, Francis said.

During his trip, the spiritual leader of the world's Roman Catholics will visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. He also said he will attend an ecumenical meeting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the representatives of the Christian churches of Jerusalem, together with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

"As of now I ask you to pray for this pilgrimage," Francis concluded.

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