In a telegram to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Pope Francis has wished the Jewish community of Rome, as well as the entire Jewish people, a ‘Happy Pesach (Passover)’.
The eight-day celebration commemorates the Exodus of Israelites from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land.
“The memory of the liberation from oppression by the strong arm of the Lord inspires thoughts of mercy, reconciliation and fraternal closeness to all those who suffer under the weight of new [forms of ] slavery,” the message to Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni stated.
“Turning our thoughts to Jerusalem, which I will have the joy of visiting in the near future, I ask you to accompany me with your prayers while I assure you of my thoughts and invoke abundant blessings,” the telegram concluded.
The Holy Father shares a particular bond with the Jewish community, especially when he served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio co-authored the book “On Heaven and Earth” with his friend, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Argentina.
Passover began at sundown yesterday evening and will last for 8 full days. (J.A.E.)