VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- At his Angelus audience on Sunday, February
27, Pope John Paul II said that he is looking forward to his March trip to the
Holy Land, after his "spiritual pilgrimage" to Iraq and this three-day visit to
On the day after his return from Egypt, where he traveled to pray on
Sinai, the Holy Father told the crowd in St. Peter's Square, "My eyes are now
turning toward the holy Land, where-- God willing-- I will go during the
second week of March."
The Pope expressed the hope that "all the Church and in fact the whole world
will benefit abundantly" from his Jubilee pilgrimage to the sites connected
with the history of salvation. The Pope will visit Israeli, Palestinian, and
Jordanian territory during the next leg of his pilgrimage, visiting the sites
where Jesus was born, baptized, died, and rose from the dead.
The Pope voiced his thanks to the Egyptian government for making his
to that country possible. He also spoke of the "simple by touching"
ecumenical ceremony that he led on Mount Sinai, and offered his thanks and
prayers to the other religious leaders who had welcomed him: Pope
Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Sheikh Sayed Mohammed
Tantawi of Al-Azhar University, and Archbishop Damianos of the Orthodox
monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai.
The Pope also repeated his greetings to the "fervent Catholic community"
Egypt, noting that the faithful of that country belong to several different
rites. There are Coptic, Latin, Maronite, Greek, Armenian, Syrian, and
Chaldean Catholics represented among the people who greeted him in Egypt.