POPE BEGINS PILGRIMAGE TO HOLY LAND: ARRIVES AMMAN
March 20th, 2000 ( EWTNews) - Pope John Paul II arrived at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan, around 2:00PM for the start
of his historic weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land. As he landed at the airport, the Pope
followed his customary tradition of kissing a stone of the land and was then greeted by His
Majesty King Abdullah.
In Jordan, Christians only make up four percent of the population and Sunni Muslims comprise the
rest. Preparations have been made throughout the region with Papal flags and banners and an
estimated 1,000 Jordanian flags are waving along side. The streets in Amman and Madaba are
streamed with banners in Arabic, English, and Italian, welcoming the Holy Father.. One banner,
made by young men in Arabic says "Welcome Al Baba (Our Father) To King Adbdullah's
Kingdom" and another banner says, "We love you, Pope," the Apostolic Nunciature is located.
The Pope's first stop is Mount Nebo which is east of the city of Madaba in Jordan and acts as a
natural balcony overlooking the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley in front of Jericho and Jerusalem.
It was at Mount Nebo where God showed Moses the Promised Land and where Moses spent his
final days. As stated in Deuteronomy 34: "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount
Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead
as far as Dan all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manaseh, all the land of Judah as far as the
western sea, the Negeb and the Plain, that is, the valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as
Zoar. And the Lord said to him, 'This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to
Jacob, I will give it to your descendants. I have you let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not
go over there.' So Moses the servant of the Lord died in the land of Moab…".
From the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo, the Pope will be received by some 40 local church
leaders, and will then drive to the Apostolic Nunciature in Abdoun, which was opened after the
establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Jordan in 1994 and currently also
responsible for relations with Iraq.
The Pope will conclude the first day of his 100th trip outside Italy since he was elected to St.
Peter's See with a meeting with King Abdullah at the Royal Palace of Bab Al Barakeh.