Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land - 18/03/2000 info: email@example.com
Jerusalem (March 17)
Preparations for next week's pilgrimage by His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Holy Land are at their final stages. All is almost set for the event. Sanctuaries, streets, carcades, flags, security, press conferences, press... well the final hectic touches are still under way. The Christian community of this most sacred land are awaiting this marvellous moment and they have adorned their windows, doors and cars with a simple and effective message written in English and Arabic:
Posters have also been printed with the images of the Pope towering over Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The local media too has dedicated special articles and reports for the event. The city of Jerusalem is festooned with Papal and Israeli flags. The Old City of Jerusalem has received a general facelift with shop doors being painted, wires and pipes covered, stone slabs cleaned and fixed. Graffiti too have been removed. All the routes within the old city which will be used by the pope in his popemobil will be closely monitored for security purposes. One can feel this "awaiting" all around and on the day that the Pope will set foot in the city all will stop and wait for the Pope to pass by. Shops on the routes will remain closed on that day and certainly the security people will outnumber the christian community who has to obtain special passes and permits to be able to attend any of the gatherings in the sanctuaries. But the christian community is looking forward for this special occasion to be able to welcome "Peter" when "he returns to His Land".
We invite you to read the article, Real presence, published today in the Jerusalem Post by Abraham Rabinovich which close with these words: "In the long run, however, the papal visit will likely be remembered in the context of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in the Church over the past generation and not for the visit's impact on current events. "Yesterday," says Rabbi Rosen, "the Jews were scorned and treated with contempt and condemned to suffer. Now they are seen as an elder brother. This is a theological revolution. The Church was seen as a major enemy of the Jewish people. In fact, it is the major friend of the Jewish people today. "This must surely be one of the most mind-boggling - if not the most - ideological transformations in human history."