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JCRC PRAISES POPE FRANCIS' UPCOMING VISIT TO ISRAEL

May 22, 2014

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) issued the following statement today in response to Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Israel:

"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) extends its warm wishes to Pope Francis I on the occasion of his upcoming pilgrimage to Israel. We wish the Pope the blessings of a safe journey to the Holy Land. We welcome the papal message of unity and peace and celebrate the abiding and continuing spiritual bonds that this trip strengthens. We share in this joy with our neighbors and friends in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

"As Cardinal Archbishop in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis I presided over the annual commemoration of the Kristallnacht and authored with Rabbi Abraham Skorka (who will accompany the Pope to Israel), a Catholic-Jewish dialogue on theological issues. He is well known for his personal relationships with Jewish friends in Argentina. As Pope, he continues to strongly call for friendship and dialogue. He is demonstrating this in his plans to meet with Jews, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians during his trip to the Holy Land.

"Here in the upper Midwest, ongoing relationship building between the Jewish and Catholic communities has borne fruit in religious, academic and neighborhood settings. These include the founding of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the visit of Catholic Bishop Lee Piché to Beth El Synagogue, and the 2011 "Standing Together" interreligious event at the State Capitol, just to name just a few. In celebrating Pope Francis' pilgrimage to Israel, we have a wonderful opportunity to give thanks for this interreligious fruit and to build for the future.

"The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas and Saint John’s University are continuing this tradition by celebrating and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church's affirmation of kinship with the Jewish people in the document Nostra Aetate, In Our Time, promulgated at the Second Vatican Council."

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