Sunday, May 10, 2009

Next Day in Jerusalem

Of this Sunday's many images from Jordan, the most memorable ones of all come courtesy of the morning's First Communicants in Amman....

That said, it all ratchets up even further in the morning as the Pope departs the Hashemite kingdom for Israel; the Volo Papale touches down at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport at 11am local time (4am Eastern, 0800GMT), after which B16 will be whisked to Jerusalem, beginning his two-day stay there with a courtesy call to Israeli President Shimon Peres.

In the evening what might be the weeklong pilgrimage's most awaited stop: the Pope's hourlong visit to the Holy City's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, and a closely parsed speech that's already become the latest watershed moment for the future of Catholic-Jewish relations.

For prep/thread-spotting purposes, it might be useful for those interested to re-read the pontiff's twin addresses to Jewish leaders in the wake of January's de-excommunication of the bishops of the Society of St Pius X, Benedict's clarification on the Holocaust in the controversial move's immediate aftermath, his 2006 speech at Auschwitz -- and, if you're really feeling adventurous, Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II decree on non-Christian religions, and the Holy See's 1998 text We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.

Beyond that, "Operation White Cloak" is up and ready to go... some Muslim leaders remain infuriated following yesterday's major address in Amman... and don't forget the webstreams to watch it live.

In the meantime, it's worth closing out Mother's Day with the Pope's Regina Caeli intro from the Jordanian capital -- a reflection on womanhood:
Dear Friends,

During the Mass I spoke about the prophetic charism of women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace. The supreme example of womanly virtue is the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace. As we turn to her now, let us seek her maternal intercession for all the families of these lands, that they may truly be schools of prayer and schools of love. Let us ask the Mother of the Church to look down in mercy upon all the Christians of these lands, and with the help of her prayers, may they be truly one in the faith they profess and the witness they bear. Let us ask her who responded so generously to the angel’s call, and accepted her vocation to become the Mother of God, to give courage and strength to all young people today who are discerning their vocations, so that they too may generously dedicate themselves to carrying out the Lord’s will.
And for all the rest that's fit to print, as always, stay tuned.