POPE WELCOMED IN JORDAN

March 20th, 2000 ( EWTNews)  Around 2:00PM at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan, Pope John Paul II began his historic weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After kissing the stone representing the land of Jordan, the band played the Papal anthem, and His Majesty King Abdullah welcomed Pope John Paul II "as a man of peace, as a symbol of all that is pure in this life; as a true reminder of the power of love."

King Abdullah then stated that the Pope’s visit means "a great deal to all who believe in God and has a special significance. It brings hope of a brighter future, for justice, stability, and security; it reminds us of importance of the forgiveness of enemies and offers a unique and emotional moment for tolerance and coexistence." And then on a personal note comment, "I know this pilgrimage will bring you spiritual nourishment."

Thanking King Abdullah and the visiting dignitaries, the Holy Father began his welcoming address. He stated how this historic journey is part of the commemoration of the Great Jubilee and how it has been his great desire to make this pilgrimage. For over 21 years the Holy Father has longed to follow the footsteps of Christ and this pilgrimage is the fulfillment of a dream. For all of us, we will be tracing the steps of salvation history, as John Paul II stated, "places that speak to us of that moment’s long preparation through biblical times, places where our Lord Jesus Christ actually lived, or which are connected with His work of redemption".

The Pope then encouraged the Jordanians to continue seeking peace, now matter how difficult or how long the process takes. "Without peace, there can be no authentic development for this region, no better life for its peoples, no brighter future for its children. That is why Jordan’s proven commitment to securing the conditions necessary for peace is so important and praiseworthy."

He then went on to comment, "The three historical monotheistic religions count peace, goodness, and respect for the human person among their highest values. I earnestly hope that my visit will strengthen the already fruitful Christian-Muslim dialogue which is being conducted…". The Holy Father then concluded his opening remarks giving the Jordanians assurance of his prayers and asking God to "bless Jordan with prosperity and peace."