AFRICA/EGYPT - Egyptian Minister at the Vatican to promote pilgrimages on "The Path of the Holy Family"

Tuesday, 3 October 2017 oriental churches   holy places   pilgrimages  


Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - Egyptian Tourism Minister Yahya Rashid returns to the Vatican with the mission of finding support and collaboration in the efforts made by the government of Cairo to relaunch pilgrimages along the so-called "Path of the Holy Family", the itinerary which joins the places crossed according to ancient traditions by Mary, Joseph and Child Jesus when they found shelter in Egypt to escape the violence of Herod. According to some Egyptian media, the Minister brings with him a letter of support of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, to be delivered to Pope Francis on Wednesday, 4 October. Egyptian media also refer to a representation of the Holy Family's trip to Egypt, which should be blessed during Rashid's trip to Rome.
Egyptian tourism policy makers have long been pointing to the "Path of the Holy Family" as an itinerary to propose to specialized agencies in the organization of Christian pilgrimages. The visit of Pope Francis to Egypt (28/29 April) had been enhanced by Egyptian tourism policy makers as an opportunity to reopen the great North African Country among the possible pilgrimage destinations for Christians all over the world, in the footsteps of the Sacred Family. Pope Francis, in the speeches made during the visit, made several references to the hospitality offered by Egypt to the Child Jesus, Joseph and Mary forced to exile. Before the Papal visit, Nader Guirguis, a member of a ministerial Commission specifically set up to relaunch the Path of the Holy Family, also referred to the historical hypotheses based on the Gospel accounts, according to which the stay of the Holy Family in Egypt could have lasted for some years. On May 9th (see Fides 17/5/2017), Egyptian Tourism Minister Yahiya Rashid had already paid a visit to the Vatican to present the program "The journey of the Holy Family". On that occasion, Egyptian media reported contacts between Egyptian tourism agencies and l'Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, for the promotion of Egypt as a destination for spiritual itineraries to be offered to Christians all over the world. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 3/10/2017)