International

Pope Francis Says He'll Visit Holy Land In May

Pope Francis arrives for the Angelus noon prayer Sunday, during which he announced he would travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on May 24-26. It would be Francis' first visit to the Holy Land. i i

hide captionPope Francis arrives for the Angelus noon prayer Sunday, during which he announced he would travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on May 24-26. It would be Francis' first visit to the Holy Land.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP
Pope Francis arrives for the Angelus noon prayer Sunday, during which he announced he would travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on May 24-26. It would be Francis' first visit to the Holy Land.

Pope Francis arrives for the Angelus noon prayer Sunday, during which he announced he would travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on May 24-26. It would be Francis' first visit to the Holy Land.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP

The pope says he'll visit the Holy Land in May.

Pope Francis made the announcement Sunday while giving his weekly blessing at the Vatican.

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

The pope is expected to visit Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

The National Catholic Reporter notes:

"Francis visit comes in the year of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's visit to the area, the first visit of a pope to the Holy Land and the first time a pontiff had left Italy in over a century.

"While there, Paul met with the Orthodox Christian leader the patriarch of Constantinople, who is traditionally known as the successor of the apostle St. Andrew. Their meeting was seen as leading to a new opening between Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, which cut formal ties with each other beginning in the year 1054."

The trip would be the pope's second foreign trip, following his visit to Brazil in July 2013.

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