DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     December 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 238

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II may travel to Jordan at the end of March 2000, in conjunction with his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

        While a papal visit to Jordan has frequently been mentioned as a possibility, sources in the Vatican indicate that firm plans for that visit have now emerged. In fact, news agencies in Jordan itself have already announced the impending papal visit as an established fact; the Vatican itself has not made any official announcement.

        Father Robert Tucci, the Jesuit priest who usually organizes the details of papal travel, arrived in Amman, Jordan, on December 13-- apparently to work out the logistics for the papal visit.

        Jordan's King Hussein, who died last year, had issued an invitation for the Pope to visit his country. That invitation was renewed by Hussein's son, King Abdallah, on a September visit to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandalfo.

        The schedule for the Pope's trip to the Holy Land already includes plans for stops at Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth. The Holy Father has indicated a desire to celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, in Nazareth-- although tensions surrounding the construction of a mosque in that town have provoked some uncertainty about those plans.

        During a stop in Jordan, the Pope could fulfill his ambition to make a pilgrimage to Mount Nebo-- about 25 miles from Amman-- where Moses died after having caught a glimpse of the Promised Land. He might also make a helicopter trip to Mount Mukawer, where St. John the Baptist was imprisoned and finally beheaded. Diplomatic sources indicate that a formal visit to the Jordanian royal palace is also contemplated.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 238


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