ROME (Dec. 4)
Pope Paul VI announced today he would make a brief visit to the Holy Land next month and Vatican sources said he would visit both Israel and Jordan, The visit is expected to last two or three days.
The Pope’s announcement to 2,200 Bishops at the final meeting of the second session of the Ecumenical Council made a tremendous impression in Rome. At the same time, it was reported that 140 Bishops would go to the Holy Places in Israel and Jordan for a ten-day visit. Half of them will go first to Israel and the other half to Jordan.
It was learned that Magr. M. Martin of the Vatican State Secretariat left last week for Israel and probably also for Jordan to arrange details for the Pope’s precedent-shattering visit. It will be the first visit by a Pope to the area since St. Peter left and established the Papacy in Rome.
Unconfirmed reports here stated that the Pope would first fly to Tel Aviv but no firm details of his itinerary were known. It was recalled that last year, as a Cardinal, the Pope was invited by the Archbishop Hakim of Nazareth to join a pilgrimage to the Holy Places and that he replied that it was “the dream of my life” which he hoped to carry out some day.
In announcing his planned visit to Israel and Jordan, the Pope told the Bishops today: “We desire, God willing, to go to Palestine in the coming month of January to personally honor the sacred places where Christ was born, lived and died and was resurrected into Heaven.”