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Jerusalem's Latin-rite patriarch hopes Pope's May visit is 'cry for peace'



Jan.08,2014: Latin -rite Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem welcomed the announcement of Pope Francis' May visit to the Holy Land and said he hopes the pilgrimage will be a "cry for peace," particularly for Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians and others beset by conflict.
Pope Francis announced on Sunday his first trip as pontiff to the Holy Land,May 24-26. His visit to Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem is planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic visit by Pope Paul VI to the Holy Land in 1964. Pope Francis is expected to celebrate Masses in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he will begin his trip.
Speaking to reporters in Amman soon after the Pope’s announcement, Patriarch Twal stressed that Arab Christians are badly in need of the pope's encouragement, as their numbers continue to decrease due to violence and economic hardship.
“How great is his concern for us. And our presence, I think is one of the aspects he will mention in his speech to ask us to be courageous and to stay," the Jordanian-born patriarch said. "To stay in this land, to live in this land, to die in this land: the Holy Land is worthy to stay, to suffer and to die for," he said.
Christians throughout the Middle East represent the oldest such community in the world. But in their ancient homelands of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, they have increasingly become targets of intimidation and killing in the midst of civil unrest and war.
Source: Cns




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