Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - In the first days of December, a qualified delegation of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP) will visit Egypt to carry out a first expedition in the places crossed by the "Path of the Holy Family", the itinerary that joins the places travelled according to age-old traditions by Mary, Joseph, and Child Jesus when they found shelter in Egypt to escape the violence of Herod. Egypt's tourism minister, Yahya Rashid, announced that the expedition will serve to make an initial assessment of the route and hotel structures already active in the various places crossed by the itinerary, with the aim to include the "Holy Family's Way" in the programming of pilgrimages organized and proposed by ORP. Minister Rashid reiterated the government's intention to collaborate with the various Coptic dioceses to enhance as soon as possible the reception capacity and the visits to the individual sacred places - such as the Virgin Mary Church in Maadi - crossed by the "Path".
At the beginning of October, Minister Yahya Rashid had led an Egyptian delegation 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" (see Fides 3/10/2017).
In a greeting addressed to the Egyptian delegation during the General Audience on Wednesday 4 October (see Fides 5/10/2017), Pope Francis recalled his trip to Egypt last April: "I remember affectionately - said the Pope - my Apostolic Visit in your good land and the generous people; the land on which St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus and many prophets lived; the land blessed through the centuries by the precious blood of the martyrs and the righteous; the land of coexistence and hospitality; the land of encounter, history and civilization. May the Lord - said the Pope - bless all of you and protect your country, the Middle East and the whole world, from all terrorism and evil!" At the end of the Audience, the Egyptian delegation asked Pope Francis to bless an icon of the Holy Family's escaping to Egypt.
Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is an office of the Vicariate of Rome, an organ of the Holy Sea, reporting directly to the Cardinal Vicar of the Pope. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 21/10/2017)