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Pope to visit Holy Land on May 24

Pope Francis waves at the crowd yesterday

Pope Francis has announced the dates of his trip to the Holy Land in May.

The Holy Father will visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem in the West Bank, and the Jordanian capital, Amman. 24 May to 26 May.

Francis made the announcement “in the footsteps of Jesus Christ” during his weekly Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square yesterday.

The Pope was invited to visit the Holy Land by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and he will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on the site of the crucifixion.

On the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s historic meeting in Jerusalem with Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople, Pope Francis said: “In the climate of joy typical of this Christmas period, I would like to announce that from 24 to 26 May, God willing, I will carry out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.”