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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

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The Friars Minor staff 50 shrines in Israel, the Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Egypt. They staff or help sponsor 16 schools with approximately 10,000 students of various religions. Friar parishes are in Akko, Beit Hanina, Bethany, Bethlehem, Cana, Jaffa, Jericho, Jerusalem (St. Saviour’s and Terra Sancta College), Migdal Haemeq, Nazareth, Ramleh, and Tiberias. They also serve as chaplains and sponsor clinics and other pastoral initiatives. The Custody has one house each in Argentina and the United States, plus several houses in Italy.

Friar-led pilgrimages to the Holy Land often offer a chance to meet local Catholics. Most friars belong to the Latin (Western) rite, but some belong to Eastern Catholic Churches. During Mass in Bethlehem on May 25, Pope Francis said: “Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for, and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy, and the world is more human.”

May all of us welcome the child Jesus again this year!

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

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Photo: CedarchisCociredeF/Shutterstock

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."