Some 1400 boys and girls from Jordan will receive First Communion during the Mass Pope Francis will celebrate on the first day of his trip to the Holy Land at the Amman International Stadium. “The preparation for the celebration, which began four months ago, has involved the parents of the children, with catechism classes taught each Friday by priests, religious, catechists and religion teachers,” said Father Rifat Bader of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media, official spokesman for the Holy Father's Visit to Jordan. “The boys and girls, dressed in white, will remain in their places after the consecration of the Eucharist and bishops and priests will administer First Communion to them,” he told Fides News Agency. The 50,000 tickets to the May 24 Mass are being distributed at parishes in Jordan, while nearly 500 young people will serve as volunteers to help with logistics during the celebration. Pope Francis will visit the Holy Land and Jordan May 24-26. The Pope announced the trip in January, saying its principal goal will be “to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I” that occurred 50 years ago. In January 1964, Pope Paul VI traveled to the Holy Land. He met with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on the Mount of Olives on January 5. This historic meeting led to an improved relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, including a momentous joint declaration issued in 1965, in which both leaders expressed their desire “to overcome their differences in order to be again ‘one’ as the Lord Jesus asked of his Father for them.”
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