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Pope reaches out to chief rabbi in Rome

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ROME (JTA) — Pope Francis sent a personal message to Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, underscoring his desire to foster Catholic-Jewish relations.

The Catholic news agency Zenit said the message was dated March 13, the day that the former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church.

"Trusting in the protection of the Most High,” Francis wrote, “I very much hope to be able to contribute to the progress that relations between Jews and Catholics have experienced since the Second Vatican Council, in a spirit of renewed collaboration and at the service of a world that can be ever more harmonious with the will of the Creator."

Francis also invited Di Segni, as well as the presidents of the Rome Jewish Community and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, to the papal inauguration ceremony to be held in St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday.

Di Segni responded with a letter saying that the election of Francis “gives us the hope that the path of friendship, respect and productive collaboration will continue.”

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