His Eminence, André Vingt-Trois, Cardinal of Paris arrived in Israel last week for a historical visit to the Holy Land. He was joined on this occasion by delegation of over 130 pilgrims, including Jean-Pierre Ricard, Cardinal Archbishop of Bordeaux, bishops, priests, religious and lay people. In addition to visiting numerous sites while in Israel, the Cardinal participated in a ceremony on the grounds of the Benedictine Abbey in Abu Ghosh, to commemorate Aron Jean-Marie Lustiger (1926-2007), Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, who converted from Judaism and worked within the Catholic Church to promote close ties between Christianity and Judaism.
Attending the ceremony were many of the Catholic Ordinaries, led by Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Tourism, several rabbis led by Rabbi David Rosen, the outgoing mayor of Abu Ghosh, and other guests.
The memorial consists of a meticulously landscaped garden with running water, dotted with ceramic plaques with quotations from the works of Cardinal Lustiger. All of the speakers emphasized that the garden is meant not only to be a place to remember the late Cardinal, but also as a site to pray for peace in the Holy Land.
During his visit, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois also led prayers in churches throughout Israel, visited the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In recognition of the importance of the visit, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism hosted a festive reception in honor of the Cardinal and his delegation at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.