One month after papal visit to the Holy Land

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One month after papal visit to the Holy Land

Fr. Rif'at Bader-Amman

Thirty days have passed since the fourth papal visit to the Holy Land. It is an opportunity to convey gratitude and appreciation to His Holiness Pope Francis who was the blessed guest of the Holy Land. It is also the opportune time to convey gratitude to all those who worked tirelessly in the preparation for this visit including official, popular and Church committees.

The 24th of May was distinctive by all means the time when the Pope delivered his first speech--out of a total of 16--in the Holy Land where he elaborated on religious freedom, not only freedom of worship.

As for the King, he spoke about peace and the role played by the Pope as a Pontiff or "builder of bridges". He started his speech by saying in Latin “peace be upon you”, namely Pax Vobis.

There were really touching moments when the Pope entered Amman International Stadium to celebrate Mass with over 35,000 people tumultuously greeting him. People from every nook and cranny where there, including the Seven Catholic Patriarchs of the East. Some 1,400 children also received their first communion. In his homily, the Pope said: “Peace is not something which can be bought or sold; peace is a gift to be sought patiently and to be ‘crafted’ through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives.”

At the Baptism Site, Pope Francis met again with His Majesty the King, and they visited together the Ancient Church of the Baptism. Later, the Pope stood by the River Jordan and prayed silently, then he entered the New Church of Baptism to meet the suffering people and the refugees under the supervision of a number of official and Church institutions which the Pope lauded, among which was Caritas.

The Pope’s motorcade then arrived at the Apostolic Nunciature after a day full of activities to a tumultuous welcome by the masses of people gathering outside the nunciature who wished the Pope a blessed night in the secure and stable Jordan.

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