PAPAL ENVOY ENCOURAGES CHRISTIANS IN HOLY LAND

VATICAN, Jan. 2, 01 (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Roger Etchegaray,
serving as the personal representative of Pope John Paul II, brought
a message of encouragement to the Christians of the Holy Land as he
celebrated Mass in Jerusalem on January 1.

Cardinal Etchegaray, the chairman of the Vatican's committee
coordinating the Jubilee, traveled to the Holy Land for ceremonies
closing the Holy Year there. On January 1-- the World Day of Peace--
he presided at Mass in the cathedral of the Latin-rite Catholic
patriarchate of Jerusalem.

"This land is your land, too; you have the right to live here, and the
duty to work for peace here," the cardinal told the Arab Christians.
He said that today the Christian presence in the Holy Land is "more
necessary than ever, for the future of peace in your land." And he
added that no peace agreement could endure without "peace in the
people's souls and in their hearts."

"Take courage, you are not alone!" the cardinal told the Christians of
Jerusalem.

On January 2, Cardinal Etchegaray delivered the same message to
Christians in Bethlehem. After a delay caused by the insistence of
Israeli officials that the Vatican delegation show a special permit
before entering the town, the Pope's envoy celebrated Mass in
Bethlehem, and urged the Christians there to work together with
both Muslims and Jews to restore peace in the Holy Land.