Father Lombardi asks faithful to pray for Pope’s visit to Holy Land

Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi
Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi


In his editorial last Saturday, the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, encouraged the faithful to accompany Pope Benedict XVI on his journey to the Holy Land with what John Paul II called “great prayer.”
Father Lombardi noted that “the departure of Benedict XVI to the Holy Land is now imminent.  It is the most anticipated and perhaps most valiant trip of his pontificate. It is a trip of faith and above all, a trip that is more than any other, a true pilgrimage to the holiest places of Salvation History and above all of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God.”
He went on to note that this pilgrimage is also “the spiritual desire of all Christians, and it has become a priority for all the pontiffs ever since international travel became a concrete possibility.  It wasn’t for nothing that the pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the first of Paul VI’s of such trips. It was a truly historical moment of grace for the Catholic Church, which was holding the Council.”
“John Paul II,” Father Lombardi continued, “had to wait a long time before fulfilling the desire for this pilgrimage, but he had the joy of doing so serenely, in the heart of the Great Jubilee in 2000.”  It was a “true culmination of his pontificate, with moments of sublimely intense prayer and memorable gestures of friendship and closeness to the Jewish and Palestinian peoples and to their past and present sufferings.”
Now, he said, “its Pope Benedict’s turn.  We know the political situation in the area is uncertain, just as the prospects of peace are fragile. But with admirable courage based on the faith, the Pope is taking the journey to speak about reconciliation and peace. All of us should accompany him not only with ordinary prayer but also with that spiritual mobilization that John Paul II called the ‘great prayer’.”  These prayers and spiritual accompaniment for Benedict XVI will also help the Church “to find renewal in her sources, to increase the unity among Christians and to finally move from hatred to reconciliation.”