Pope Francis to visit Israel in May

48-hour visit will include mass in Bethlehem and a visit to the Yad Vashem museum.

Pope Francis has announced a very short official visit to Israel in late May. The reported itinerary includes mass in Bethlehem and a probable visit to Yad Vashem – World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation, Education and Commemoration in Jerusalem.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that TIME’s person of the year, Pope Francis, will visit Israel on May 25-26, 2014.

News of the visit was reported shortly after the release of a 224-page document describing the pope’s vision of the church and its mission.

“Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples,” Francis wrote in the document. “The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians.”

Francis also wrote that the Catholic Church holds “the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.