Pope Benedict XVI prepares to visit Rome synagogue

January 17, 2010

From Zenit:

During his visit to the Jewish community of Rome this Sunday, Benedict XVI will honor the more than 1,000 victims of the Nazi deportation of 1943. The program of the Pope’s trip was reported today by Vatican Radio.

His first stop will be at the plaque that recalls the Oct. 16, 1943, raid ordered by SS commander Herbert Kappler of occupied Rome, at the request of Berlin. More than 1,000 Roman Jews were arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Only 16 people, among them one woman, were able to return. The Holy Father will place flowers before the plaque honoring those victims.

The next stop on the Pontiff’s program is to honor another victim of violence: a child who was killed in the 1982 terrorist attack on the synagogue. Stefano Tache, age 2, lost his life in that attack; 37 others were wounded.

Benedict XVI will be received at the foot of the stairs of the synagogue by Grand Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni. As they enter the synagogue, the choir will sing Psalm 126 and the Holy Father will greet civil authorities. After discourses from the presidents of Rome’s and Italy’s Jewish communities and the grand rabbi, the choir will intone Psalm 133. Then the Pope will give his address. Before he returns to the Vatican, the Pontiff will meet privately with the grand rabbi and will also visit the Jewish Museum.

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