Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pope’s journey to Holy Land a "Franciscan" pilgrimage

The Holy Land is preparing for the apostolic journey of Pope Francis next May 24-26. The three-day visit will include events in Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

The Holy Sites in the region are under the care of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the province of the Franciscan Order which has been entrusted for centuries with the task. In many ways, this trip to the Holy Land is another Franciscan aspect of this papacy.

“The Holy Land was the mission preferred by Saint Francis – it was ever on his mind – and is therefore the first and principle mission of the Franciscan Order, and it is entirely fitting therefore in the logic of things that the Holy Father will follow his visit to Assisi by the visit to the Holy Land,” said Father David-Maria, Jaeger, OFM.

“It is also connected to the core message of the Holy Father, namely a return to the Gospel, which was the message of Francis,” he told Vatican Radio. “[Saint Francis of Assisi] did not establish any kind of new ideology or religious school, the rule that he dictated to his followers was quite simply to follow the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Father Jaeger said this is also the message of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis “is telling us to testify to the world, not through what he calls a disjointed multitude of doctrines, but through the one Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “And the Holy Land is the first living witness to that, in a sense, through the genuineness, through the concreteness, through the historicity of the Gospel, in every sense of the word historicity.”

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