Migrant workers in the Holy Land are eagerly awaiting Pope Francis' pilgrimage to Palestine, Israel and Jordan next month, and are praying for its success. “The migrant workers' communities are eagerly awaiting the Pope with joyful expectation,” Fr. Tojy Jose, OFM, head of the Indian Chaplaincy in the Holy Land, told CNA April 5. Pope Francis will travel to the Holy Land May 24-26, marking the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, who was then the Eastern Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople. Fr. Jose said the Indian community in the area is “enthusiastic to hear the Holy Father.” “The Pope's forthcoming visit has boosted the morale, and will reinforce the hopes, of the migrant Christians working in Holy Land.” Pope Francis will arrive in Amman, the Jordanian capital, May 24 and pay a courtesy visit to the nation's king and queen, and he will later address national authorities. That afternoon he will say Mass, then visit Bethany beyond the Jordan, the site where John the Baptist was baptizing. There, Pope Francis will address refugees and the physically disabled. The Pope will celebrate Mass in the afternoon at 4 p.m., followed by a visit to the baptismal site at Bethany beyond Jordan and to meet and address the refugees, and physically challenged people. The following day, Pope Francis will travel to Palestine to visit Bethlehem, meeting the state's president and the Palestinian Authority, then saying Mass and praying the Regina Caeli. He will lunch with Palestinian families at the Franciscan convent of Casa Nova, and then make a private visit to the grotto of the nativity. After this, he will be greeted by refugee children, and then depart by helicopter for Israel. He will meet in private with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the present day Archbishop of Constantinople; the two will sign a joint declaration, after which there will be a public ecumenical meeting at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. On May 26, Pope Francis will meet Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, the Sunni cleric entrusted with the city's Muslim holy places. He will then visit the Western Wall and lay a wreath at Mount Herzl, the site of Israel's national cemetery, and then make a discourse at Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial of the Holocaust, and meet with Jerusalem's chief rabbis. In the afternoon he will meet in private with Patriarch Bartholomew, aside the Orthodox parish on the Mount of Olives, after which he will meet with priests, religious, and seminarians at the church of Gethsemane. Pope Francis will say Mass with the ordinaries of the Holy Land and the Papal suite at the Cenacle, and he will preach at the Mass. In the evening, he will fly from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, say farewell to Israel, and return to Rome.
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