Skip to comments.Pope Francis arrives in Jordan to begin Middle East trip
Posted on 05/24/2014 5:24:05 AM PDT by NYer
Pope Francis arrived in Jordan on Saturday to kick off his first visit to the Middle East since becoming the head of the Catholic Church, bringing hope to the dwindling Christian population and an appeal to members of all religions to work together for peace.
With a Rabbi and a Muslim leader in tow, the pontiff left Rome earlier on Saturday to begin his first visit to the Middle East, a delicate mission to push his vision of inter-religious dialogue as a vehicle for peace in the region.
Security was tight on the streets of the Jordanian capital Amman on Saturday in preparation for the pope's arrival.
During his visit, the Pope will hold a mass at the Amman International Stadium, which is expected to attract over 30,000 thousand Christians from Jordan and the surrounding region.Jordan's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nidal Qatamin spoke of the event's significance.
"Today is a very important day for Jordanians and for everyone actually visiting Jordan, and everyone watching and observing the visit and the importance of the visit to the Kingdom of Jordan." he said.
Abu Ali, a newspaper vendor working in downtown Amman for over 30 years, has witnessed several papal visits to the country.
"When the pope of the Vatican visits Jordan, his message for peace and coexistence among religions is well received. The pope is one of the people, who loves the poor and the needy. His visit to Jordan is of great importance. The pope believes in all three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and he calls for complete coexistence among the religions." he said.
The Pope is expected to take part in a tour of the holy sites around the kingdom, including the Jordan River, near the site where John the Baptist is believed to have baptized Jesus.
The river flows for 200 km (125 miles) along the Jordan Valley, separating Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
Following the signing of a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel in 1994, the area has witnessed an influx of Christian pilgrims who visit the holy sites and are baptized in the river.
The pontiff was set to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories on Sunday and Monday.
To underscore his conviction that all three great monotheistic faiths can live together in the region and help to budge the political stalemate, Francis has enlisted a rabbi and an Islamic leader to be part of a traveling papal delegation for the first time.
The two - Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, director of the Institute for Religious Dialogue in Buenos Aires - are friends from when Francis was cardinal in his native Argentina.
The trip, which starts in Jordan on Saturday, is intended to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's meeting in Jerusalem in 1964 with Patriarch Athenagoras, the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians.
It is the first visit to the region by Francis, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.
Always afraid of what he’s going to say next. He’s like a tiger on the loose.
Saying an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for his safety. Rosary later today.
**Security was tight on the streets of the Jordanian capital Amman on Saturday in preparation for the pope’s arrival.**
Prayers for the safety of the Pope.
Whenever I am working for a client who talks about her "vision" for her business, I start to sweat.
Abu Ali, a newspaper vendor working in downtown Amman for over 30 years, has witnessed several papal visits to the country. "When the pope of the Vatican visits Jordan, his message for peace and coexistence among religions is well received. The pope is one of the people, who loves the poor and the needy. His visit to Jordan is of great importance. The pope believes in all three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and he calls for complete coexistence among the religions."
Who will have lunch with Pope Francis?
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
I was curious as to why Francis is speaking italian instead of Spanish. I’m guessing that its because they were able to find people who could translate Italian to Arabic or Hebrew but not Spanish to Arabic or Hebrew. In Jordan, the universal tongue seems to be English. Anyone know what Francis’s comfort level is with various languages? I’m spoiled after John Paul and even Benedict, both multi-lingual. Pretty much anyone who gets to the level of Cardinal would speak fluent Italian but what about English?
I’ve been watching the Pope and reading about him. I have concerns about his health. He has only one lung. He has gained over 20 pounds. He seems to have some difficulty breathing, walking, and even speaking much over a whisper. My brother had serious respiratory issues before he died. In addition, chronic oxygen deprivation I think can lead to COPD and maybe congestive heart failure. His weight gain is also a possible symptom of CHF. Prayers up to Pope Francis.
Good guess but wrong. The Maronite Church (which also has a seminary in Rome), just completed the standardization of its missal in 4 languages - English, Arabic, French and Spanish. Omar Abboud, the muslim who accompanied the pope on this pilgrimage, is the Director of the Institute for Interreligious Centre in Buenos Aires. He is fluent in both Spanish and Arabic. Francis seems more comfortable with Italian. Also, there is less room for misinterpretation.
Agree with you about the health issues for Pope Francis. He is in my daily prayers.