Palestinians hang a poster of Pope Francis in the West Bank town of Bethlehem May 23, 2014. Pope Francis will visit Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel during his May 24-26 trip, his first as pope to the region. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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Pope Francis has arrived in Jordan, kicking off his three-day trip to the Middle East.Pope Francis will meet with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania at the royal palace first.On the first leg of his three-day Mideast trip, Pope Francis will get a firsthand look at the plight of Syrian refugees and witness the toll the civil war next door is taking on Jordan. After meeting with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania at the royal palace, Francis is due to celebrate Mass Saturday in Amman's International Stadium.The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Francis wants to offer comfort to all Christians who live in the region and encourage them to stay.It's the first time a pope has landed in the West Bank rather than Tel Aviv first, and Palestinian officials are eager to show Francis the limbo endured by generations of Palestinians forced or driven out in the war over Israel's 1948 creation.That highlight will come on Sunday, when Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I preside over a joint prayer service in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
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