European and American Bishops Visit Holy Land

JERUSALEM, JAN. 11, 2007 ( Bishops from Europe and North America will be visiting Jerusalem to learn how they can support the local Church in the Holy Land.

The eight-day gathering, which will begin Friday, is the sixth annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land, which seeks to encourage the commitment and solidarity of Catholics worldwide with this area.

In addition to the bishops of North America and Europe, representatives of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services, Pax Christi International, the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, the Pontifical Mission Society, Vatican Radio and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation will also attend.

Given that Nigerians are the most numerous pilgrims to the Holy Land, a Nigerian bishop was invited for the first time this year, but it has proved impossible for him to come.

The event is organized in coordination with the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land, and the program includes visits to Bethlehem, Gaza and Nazareth, and then finally in Jerusalem.

Representatives from the respective bishops’ conferences are scheduled to meet with a range of civic, political and religious leaders during the visit, including a possible meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been scheduled in Ramallah and will be followed by a public Mass.