The Vatican has emphasized that the pope’s main purpose on the trip is to meet in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, considered first among equals by Orthodox bishops. The official logo for the papal visit is an icon of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, patron saints of the churches of Rome and Constantinople, joined in a fraternal embrace.The pope will be visiting Jordan, Palestine and Israel and celebrate Mass in all three countries. He will meet a wide range of people, from heads of state and royalty to religious and refugees. It promises to be an extraordinary visit — in every sense of the term, a pilgrimage.
- Full schedule of the trip available here (and there will be links to speeches and addresses after the events at the same link)
- Missal of the Papal liturgies
Pope Francis (in what is becoming a personal tradition of this pontificate) made a private visit to the Roman Basilica of St. Mary Major on Friday morning to pray and entrust his Holy Land pilgrimage to Our Lady. After praying for 15 minutes before the image of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani, the Pope left a bouquet of roses in her honour.
Perhaps it would be helpful to join in prayer for the successful and safe conclusion of this pilgrimage:
Prayer for the pilgrimage of Pope Francis to the Holy LandHeavenly Father, you never tire of being compassionate and loving. The successor of St. Peter plans to visit the Holy Land sanctified by your Son’s birth, baptism, teaching, death and resurrection. Be with him, sanctify him, and bless him. Spread the mantle of your kindness over every stage of his pilgrimage among us, that one may see in him a believing pilgrim, a wise teacher, and a humble leader.Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed for the unity of your Church, saying: “May they all be one”, make the meeting in Jerusalem between the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Patriarch an incentive to increase our efforts for the unity of your children.Make the encounter of the Pope with the political authorities fruitful for justice and peace. Protect all the residents of this land and the adherents of the religions of the Middle East that they may be in accord, dialogue and cooperation for the achievement of full citizenship.Good Shepherd, whose image Pope Francis carries on his pectoral cross, walking in the spirit of humility with which you have graced him deepen within us the awareness of our Christian identity, that as true disciples, we may bear witness to your Good News and your resurrection in our churches, our society, and all the world, especially by serving the sick, the poor, and the refugees.Bless, Lord Most Holy, this fourth papal visit to our Holy Land, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, all the saints of the Holy Land, and the two new saints, John Paul II and John XXIII. Amen.
You can follow the Pope's visit on the following sites:
Official website of the visit from the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries (Bishops) of the Holy Land - good site with a lot of information and background about the situation of Christians in the Holy Land
Official website of the visit by Patriarch Bartholomew
CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) - Apostles of Unity in the Holy Land
Vatican Radio Facebook page
Franciscan Media Centre and Terra Sancta News
Whispers in the Loggia
Catholic News Agency