European Bishops on Pope's journey to the Holy Land

2014-05-23 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis prepares to travel to the Holy Land later this week, European bishops have sent a message to European faithful inviting them to participate in "this important moment of prayer for the whole Church".

Please find below the full text of the message  from the Council of European Bishops' Conferences - CCEE:

Message to the faithful of Europe from the Presidency of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) to mark Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Just a few days before Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we wish to share with you some reflections and invite you to play a key part in this important moment of prayer for the whole Church. 

This pilgrimage, which the successor of Peter is undertaking to confirm in faith the Church in the Holy Land, is an opportunity for us Europeans to witness to our closeness to all our Christian brothers and sisters and all those who, living in the land of the Lord, have known how to preserve the faith despite various trials and tribulations of two thousand years of history. To them we want to express our thanks for their daily witness to life according to faith and especially in giving witness to the Christian faith: you are an incentive and encouragement to us in our lives as Christians.

May the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, recalling the historical embrace between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras (4-6 January 1964), and the ecumenical meeting with all the representatives of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, be transformed into a universal embrace from which to draw strength in our journey towards visible unity between the Churches, which is also part of the commitment of CCEE. We recall, too, with gratitude, the merits of the Eastern Churches and especially the Orthodox Church in protecting the holy places associated with the Passion and Death of Christ.

May the greeting of Peace which Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew will bring to the political authorities of the peoples visited (Israel, Jordan, Palestine) become an incentive to set out on the path of concrete negotiations for a peaceful and lasting harmony between the different peoples who gravitate around this land which for years has been crying out: Peace!

Finally, we invite all the local communities in Europe, through their respective Episcopal Conferences, to join with us in prayer, spreading for the Holy Land and all its inhabitants.


(From archive of Vatican Radio)