Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are both on record accepting the invitation from Pope Francis to come and pray for peace at the Vatican.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Celebrating Mass a few steps from the spot traditionally believed to the birthplace of Jesus, Pope Francis said that the way society treats its young reveals its moral character.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM - Pope Francis has offered his home, the Vatican, to Israeli President Shimon Perez and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pray together for peace.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage
AMMAN, Jordan - Jordan's powerful and marginalized joined together at the banks of the River Jordan to welcome Pope Francis at the site believed to be where Jesus was baptized.
Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

AMMAN, Jordan - Pope Francis began a densely packed visit to the Holy Land with a call for religious freedom in the Middle East, including respect for the right to change one's religion.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM - As workers continue to assemble the stage on which Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Manger Square, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the city of Jesus' birth, leading a procession of Orthodox bishops, priests and officials from the Palestinian Authority into the Church of the Nativity.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM, West Bank - A long line of cars trailed down the road next to the Church of the Nativity as Franciscan Father Ibrahim Faltas helped coordinate the placement of the electricity generator for the May 25 papal Mass.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM - Catholic priests in the Palestinian Territories want Pope Francis to press Israel to allow greater freedom of movement, especially access to holy sites in Jerusalem, and they expect the issue to be addressed when the Pope meets with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem on May 26.

Published in International

The “principle purpose” of the May 24-26 visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land is not a conventional pilgrimage, as conducted by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.

Published in Guest Columnists

VATICAN CITY - When preparing for two canonizations that draw nearly 1 million people to Rome, people usually pack essentials like food, water, raingear and sunhats.

Published in Papal Canonizations

TORONTO - After 31 years Romeo Meleca knows that he won’t be able to make too many more 200-km pilgrimages on foot to the Holy Cross of Teopoli near Gravenhurst, Ont.

“I did this in 1981 by myself and I’m willing still to carry on as long as I live, as long as I can,” said Meleca after beginning his annual journey at All Saints Church in Etobicoke on July 7. “On July 17, two days after the walk, I’ll be 81 years of age so I don’t know how many more years I will be able to walk, but I hope to able to live until I’m 100 and able to walk until I’m 100. That’s quite a wish but it doesn’t cost anything to wish.”

Wishes aside, as the eldest participant in the annual pilgrimage — he is joined this year by nine others — Meleca knows the reality of physical hardships associated with age. At 37 he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and less than a decade later, he needed crutches to walk.

Published in Canada
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