File - Patriarch Beshara Rai tours in Rome, April 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Maronite Patriarchate Bkerke, HO)
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Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai confirmed Friday he would join Pope Francis on his upcoming historic trip to occupied Jerusalem later this month, becoming the first head of Lebanon's Maronite Church to visit Israel since it was founded in 1948 .Bishop Bulos Sayah, a representative of Rai, had earlier said that the patriarch would be part of the church delegation headed by Pope Francis during his pastoral visits to Jordan, holy sites in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem later this month.The presence of Rai in the delegation headed by Francis cannot solve any problem facing Maronites who live in Israel because this is the job of the bishop who represents the Maronite Church there.Pope Francis' May 24-26 itinerary includes visits to Jordan, Israel and Palestine.
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