Pope Francis made the announcement Sunday while giving his weekly blessing at the Vatican.
“In the climate of joy, typical of this Christmas season, I wish to announce that from 24 to 26 May next, God willing, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” he said.
The pope is expected to visit Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.
The National Catholic Reporter notes:
“Francis visit comes in the year of the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s visit to the area, the first visit of a pope to the Holy Land and the first time a pontiff had left Italy in over a century.
“While there, Paul met with the Orthodox Christian leader the patriarch of Constantinople, who is traditionally known as the successor of the apostle St. Andrew. Their meeting was seen as leading to a new opening between Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, which cut formal ties with each other beginning in the year 1054.”
The trip would be the pope’s second foreign trip, following his visit to Brazil in July 2013.