Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to deliver remarks at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) today on the conclusion of his four-day visit that took him to several Christian and Islamic sites.
The Pontiff, who is set to be seen off today by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, was accompanied by the King and the Queen Sunday to the Baptism Site, where Jesus Christ, according to Christian tradition, was baptised by John the Baptist. They were briefed on the site and the archaeological discoveries at the location.
The Pope is scheduled to leave for Israel today.
On Sunday, the 82-year-old Pope, who is the leader of 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, blessed the foundation stone of the Latin and Greek Melkite Churches at the Baptism Site, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
In a speech at the site, the Pope described the Middle East as being marked by tragic suffering, by years of violence and unresolved tensions. “Christians are called to offer their contribution, inspired by the example of Jesus, of reconciliation and peace through forgiveness and generosity.”
Referring to the two churches that he blessed at the site, the Pope said: “It is with great spiritual joy that I come to bless the foundation stones of two Catholic churches to be built beside the River Jordan, a place marked by many memorable events in Biblical history.”
The Pontiff added: “I am pleased to greet all the bishops, priests, religious and faithful who accompany us today. Let us rejoice in the knowledge that the two buildings, one Latin, the other Greek Melkite, will serve to build up, each according to the traditions of its own community, the one family of God.”
Down through the centuries, many pilgrims have come to Jordan to seek purification, renew their faith and draw closer to the Lord, he said in a speech received by The Jordan Times.
During his visit to Jordan, the Pope visited the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque where he met with several Muslims and Christian religious leaders and scholars. The Pope also visited the Lady of Peace Centre, an Amman-based centre for persons with disabilities.
The Pope also visited Madaba city Saturday, blessing the cornerstone of Madaba University and visiting the Moses Memorial Church on Mount Nebo, where he announced the start of his pilgrimage.