THURSDAY
February 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 34
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
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POPE TO MAKE SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE ON ABRAHAM'S STEPS

    VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Having been frustrated in his desire to visit Ur of the Chaldeans, the home of the patriarch Abraham, Pope John Paul II has announced that he will make a pilgrimage in spirit.

    Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at his regular weekly public audience on February 16, the Holy Father said that he would follow in the footsteps of Abraham through a special ceremony to be held on February 23 in the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium.

    The theme of making a pilgrimage, the Pope said, is "one of the most significant aspects of the Jubilee." He had indicated in a letter published in June 1999 that he hoped to make physical pilgrimages to "the holy places that are tied to the history of salvation."

    "In the coming weeks, God willing, I will be going on a pilgrimage to some of the sites that are connected in a special way to the Incarnation of the Word of God," the Pope said. (He was obviously referring to his trip to Egypt later in February, and to the Holy Land in March.)

    "I had wished first of all to travel to Ur of the Chaldeans," the Pope continued. But his plans for such a trip had been thwarted by political difficulties in Iraq, where Ur is located. Therefore, he said, he had decided to "make such a pilgrimage, at least in spirit." On February 23, therefore, the Pope will recall the story of Abraham, who "heard God's call" and became the founder of the Hebrew race, the chosen people of the old covenant. This special ceremony will mark the first stage of the Pope's Jubilee pilgrimage. The next stage will come with his trip to Egypt, where he will follow in the footsteps of Moses on Mount Sinai. Then in March he will complete the pilgrimage by visiting the sites of the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.

          

February 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 34
NEWS & VIEWS

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