.- Fifteen Italian athletes will participate in the Jerusalem-to-Bethlehem Peace Marathon today with the aim of encouraging peace in the region and Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land, says a report on IsraelNN.com.
They will run a 10-km route along the walls of Jerusalem's Old City to Bethlehem, carrying a torch blessed by Pope John Paul II.
The Italian delegation, which includes another 200 pilgrims and athletes, is led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of the Diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Bishops Conference, and Dr. Gianni Petrucci, president of the Italian National Olympic Committee.
The Italian Bishops Conference, the Italian Olympics Committee, and the Vatican organized the event. The Israel Tourism Ministry, the Jerusalem municipality, the Israel Olympics Committee, the Israel Police, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry have assisted in the efforts.