December 23, 2013

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wrote that the Catholic Church holds “the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked.”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

Photo by Philip Chidell /” target=”_blank”>

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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