On St. John Paul II's first feast day (today, Oct. 22), we remember his visit to Israel in the year 2000.
The historic message in the note the Pope placed in the Western Wall (now enshrined at Yad Vashem).
Photo by Grzegorz Galazka
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL (Anti-Defamation League) National Director and a Holocaust survivor from Poland, wrote this about the recently-canonized Polish pope:
The canonization of Pope John XXIII, the father of Vatican II, and Pope John Paul II, who denounced anti-Semitism as “sin against God and humanity” and who was the first pope to visit the Great Synagogue of Rome since the time of Peter, formalizes and celebrates the courageous leadership of these two holy men who were determined to set the church on the right path toward better relations with other faiths.For us in the Jewish community, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII have already been saints for a long time.They are towering men whose visionary leadership and groundbreaking reforms transformed Jewish-Catholic relations and reversed two thousand painful years of church-based anti-Semitism.
Click on the photo to read what John Paul was feeling about the Holy Land as he stood on Mt. Nebo (in Jordan) and gazed at the promised land, as did Moses from the same mountain.
Israel welcomes visit by Pope John Paul II (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Visit to Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority: A Pilgrimage of Prayer, Hope, and Reconciliation (ADL)
Moses, John Paul, and Benedict on Mt. Nebo (this blog)