December 18, 2014
JERUSALEM (AP) - Pope Benedict begins a five-day trip to the Holy Land tomorrow. He will visit sites in Israel and the West Bank and celebrate Mass in three locations: Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Benedict will become the second pope to make an official visit to Israel, following John Paul II, who visited during the 2000 millennium year.
Israeli officials are hoping that the pope's visit will boost tourism, improve Israel's image and bolster relations between the Jewish state and the Vatican.
Today, Pope Benedict celebrated an open-air Mass in Jordan. He praised the courage of Middle East Christians who cling to their faith despite war and adversity as he addressed a crowd of 20,000.
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