DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     July 28, 1999     vol. 10, no. 140

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Statements by Apostolic Nuncio in Israel

          RIMINI, JUL 26 (ZENIT).- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel, spoke at a public meeting in the Rimini parish of Jesus Our Reconciliation to discuss the Christian presence in the land of Christ's birth. He said that what the Pope really hopes for "is peace in the Holy Land, especially in Jerusalem."

          "The Pope will travel to the Holy Land next spring. He has been invited repeatedly by all the Christian Churches in Jerusalem, by the government, and by the Palestine Authority itself. The problem will be to respect the Pope's wish: that the event be a truly spiritual pilgrimage and a strong impetus for peace," stated the Holy See diplomat.

          "The Jubilee year will be a period of conversion and return to following in the footsteps and fidelity of the Lord Jesus, but also the occasion for the ecumenical meeting of all the brethren of the different churches who believe in Christ, of dialogue among the three monotheists religions and a year of peace," he continued.

          The first significant steps have already been taken, the Nuncio announced. "From the top of the Mount of Olives, for the first time a Cardinal, a Rabbi and a Moslem leader have prayed together for peace in Jerusalem and the world, each one in his own tongue and in his own religious tradition, but all directed to the same God. The event took place at the end of the 4th Congress of Priests from different parts of the world. Inside the Cenacle, Bishops and priests from all the Christian churches in Jerusalem met with five Catholic priests, each of these representing a different continent; they shook hands and prayed the Our Father together," Archbishop Sambi said.

          "Altogether, the Christians comprise 2% of the Holy Land's population," added the Nuncio. "They are few but precious, because on behalf of all Christ's disciples in the world, they maintain the faith alive in the places connected to our Redemption. Mother Church in Jerusalem continues to give painful birth to the rest of the Church spread around the world. In general, pilgrim faithful have few contacts with members of the Church in the Holy Land. If I may make a suggestion, I would encourage groups that come to Jerusalem to choose a parish and go one afternoon to meet with the Catholics there." ZE99072601

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July 28, 1999       volume 10, no. 140


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