Pope Francis will be the fourth Pope to come to the Holy Land. He will visit Israel on May 25-26, 2014 - the 50th anniversary of the historic visit of Pope Paul VI.
Previous Papal visits
- Pope Paul VI - January 1964
- Pope John Paul II - March 2000
- Pope Benedict XVI - May 2009
Excerpts from remarks by Pope Paul VI
January 5, 1964
Pope Paul VI with President Zalman Shazar and members of the Israel government; Pope Paul VI on Mount Tabor (Copyright: GPO)
We see and tread on this land where the Patriarchs lived; this land where the voice of the prophets was heard, speaking for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; this land forever blessed and made sacred by the presence of Jesus Christ...
We are guided in this visit by purely spiritual considerations. We come as pilgrims; we come to venerate the holy places; we come to pray...
We pray to God for all men, believers and unbelievers, and we gladly include the sons of the "people of the Covenant" whose role in the religious history of mankind cannot be forgotten...
We pray for the reconciliation of man with God and for deep and genuine harmony among all men and among all peoples. We summarize our hope and our prayer: Shalom! Shalom!
Letter Placed by Pope John Paul II at the Western Wall
March 26, 2000
God of our fathers,
You chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring your Name to the Nations:
we are deeply saddened
by the behaviour of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of yours to suffer,
and asking your forgiveness
we wish to commit ourselves
to genuine brotherhood
with the people of the Covenant.
Jerusalem, 26 March 2000
Signed: John Paul II
Letter Placed by Pope Benedict XVI at the Western Wall
May 12, 2009
God of all the ages,
on my visit to Jerusalem, the "City of Peace",
spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike,
I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations,
the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft;
send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East,
upon the entire human family;
stir the hearts of all who call upon your name,
to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion.
"The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him!" (Lam 3:25)
Signed: Benedict XVI