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Pilgrims flock to Holy Land to see pope

Saturday, May 24, 2014 - 01:35

May 24 - Tourists and pilgrims descend on Bethlehem and Jerusalem, eager to see Pope Francis, whose visit they hope will help heal divisions. Michaela Cabrera reports.

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Bethlehem is teeming with tourists and pilgrims, a day before Pope Francis arrives. A pair of friends from England timed their visit for this occasion. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATHOLIC TOURIST FROM UNITED KINGDOM, AMY CAHOON, SAYING: "We're really happy that the Pope has taken the time to come to Palestine, and we really hope that his show of solidarity for Palestinians will be something really positive for everyone here, but also the world. He's going to be bring a message of peace, and we think that's going to be really important." The Pope will be holding Sunday mass outside the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, then will meet with Palestinian families and refugees. Though the visit is primarily religious in nature, the pope will be on a delicate diplomatic mission to a land steeped in conflict. From the West Bank, he will enter Israel via Tel Aviv then travel to Jerusalem. There he will visit not only Christian sites but also shrines sacred to other religions, such as the Al Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as Temple Mount, and the Western Wall. He will meet with Muslim and Jewish religious leaders separately. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATHOLIC PRIEST AND VICE CHARGE OF NOTRE DAME CENTER, EAMON KELLY, SAYING: "We have three religions in Jerusalem, that have major historical roots, and that we learn to live together here is a very big challenge. So Pope Francis is coming like a father. He's a father figure, and he exudes goodness, and forgiveness and new beginnings. And this I think will be a great blessing." Francis is only the fourth Pope to visit the Holy Land.

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Pilgrims flock to Holy Land to see pope

Saturday, May 24, 2014 - 01:35