By Judith Sudilovsky
JERUSALEM — As Pope Francis’s visit to the Holy Land approaches, the trip is being marked with special events, government sessions, online videos and a photography exhibition both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The activities look at the history of the relationship between the Vatican and the Holy Land and serve to urge Pope Francis to look at the current political situation in the region during his brief stay.
The Palestinian Authority Government Media Center has produced a series of videos showing the daily reality of the Palestinian people called “The Living Stones: Messages from Palestine.” Meanwhile, Israel’s Knesset honored St. John XXIII for his role as pope in opening ties between the Vatican, Israel and the Jews.
Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras attend a prayer service in Jerusalem in January 1964. Special exhibits in Jerusalem and elsewhere have been developed by the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land to commemorate the pope’s journey. (CNS/Catholic Press Photo)
The Franciscan Custody in Holy Land in the meantime has put together a photographic exhibit, “1964-2014 Pope Paul VI in the Holy Land” which commemorates the historic journey of Pope Paul, the first modern day pontiff to visit the Holy Land. It includes images and testimonies from that time.
The exhibition in Jerusalem is divided into two parts, with 15 panels shown at the St. Savior Monastery at the Old City’s New Gate. Five additional panels are being shown at the nearby Christian Information Center at the Jaffa Gate and include liturgical material, stamps, coins, postcards and souvenirs from the visit.
Panels of photos also can be seen at other sites visited by Pope Paul including St. Lazarus Church in Bethany, Good Shepherd Church in Jericho, St. Catherine Church, Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Mount Tabor, Tabgha, Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes.
A special session of the Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government, convened May 13 to honor St. John XXIII.
“Until now, Israel and the Jewish nation have not found a way to express appreciation for the unique character that was John XXIII. The pope is commendable both as regards to his relationship to the Jewish nation and to the Israeli nation. I think that he is the most humanitarian and enlightened pope ever regarding his attitude toward Jews. Pope John XXIII (Read More)