B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
With Pope Francis set to touch down at Joint Base Andrews this afternoon, beginning his historic three-city visit to the United States, B’nai B’rith International welcomes the pontiff to America.
Pope Francis will spend time in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia before returning to Rome on Sept. 27.
B’nai B’rith is among all those who await the pope’s visit and will be listening to what he has to say as he addresses a number of audiences. Of particular note are Pope Francis’ speeches to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations General Assembly.
The pope is a strong supporter of interreligious relations and the Catholic-Jewish friendship. In June, a multinational delegation of B’nai B’rith leaders met privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The meeting came during this 50th anniversary year of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council document that helped to transform Catholic engagement with Jews and others.
B’nai B’rith International Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels will be present on Friday when Pope Francis visits the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York. Previously, in 2014, Michaels greeted Francis at Jerusalem’s Western Wall during the papal visit to Israel, and in 2013, Michaels attended the installation of the pope and the first interreligious meeting with him at the Vatican.
Before becoming pope, in 2012, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hosted B’nai B’rith’s annual Kristallnacht commemoration in Buenos Aires.