Pope Adds More Meetings

This just in from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: The pope has added two more meetings with Jewish leaders -- one in Washington and one in New York City. (There had been some grumbling among Jewish leaders that the pope's visit coincided with the arrival of Passover on April 19).

The press release is below.

WASHINGTON -- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced today that Pope Benedict XVI will be including two additional brief visits with members of the Jewish community during his time in the United States April 15-20. The details of the two visits are in acknowledgement of the Jewish feast of Passover, which begins on April 19th during his visit.

On April 17 the Pope will meet with 200 interfaith leaders at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. The meeting includes representatives from the Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu communities. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Pope will meet briefly with the religious representatives of the Jewish community "to present to them a message of his cordial greetings for the imminent feast of Passover," explained Msgr. David Malloy, who is serving as national coordinator for the visit and is General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The following day the Pope will travel to New York City. That evening, on his way to a prayer service with other Christian leaders, he will make a brief visit to the Park East Synagogue, which is near the residence of the Holy See's Observer to the United Nations where he will be residing. "By this personal and informal visit, which is not part of his official program, His Holiness wishes to express his good will toward the local Jewish community as they prepare for Passover," Msgr. Malloy explained. The visit to the Park East Synagogue is scheduled to last about 20 minutes.

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  April 3, 2008; 10:34 AM ET
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