(JNS.org) More than 7,000 Catholics from around the world gathered for mass on Sunday in Nazareth, Israel, the childhood home of Jesus, to mark the “International Day of Faith.”
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, who led the proceedings at an outdoor amphitheater on Mount Precipice, read a statement by Pope Francis.
“The history of our faith finds its origins in the very land where you celebrate. Before we can understand our own personal history of faith and our need for God’s mercy, we must all turn to that place and time when Jesus himself walked among us,” Pope Francis wrote.
Since taking office in early 2013, Pope Francis has made Catholic-Jewish relations a priority. The pontiff has announced tentative plans to visit Israel in 2014.
“This event not only symbolizes a day or year of faith—it is symbolic of the desired future coordination between the State of Israel and the Catholic Church,” Israel’s Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said, the Jerusalem Post reported.