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CAIRO – Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa has entrusted Fr. Rif’at Bader, director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan (CCSM) to represent him at Al-Azhar International Conference on Peace due to convene in Cairo on Thursday, April 27, as well as at the audiences of His Holiness Pope Francis in Egypt on Friday and Saturday April 28-29.

Prior to his departure for Egypt, Fr. Bader said: “I would like, in the first place, to thank Most Rev. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa for entrusting me with representing him personally during the visit of His Holiness the Pope to Egypt. After having been joyful to welcome His Holiness the Pope in our Holy Land in 2014, we share the joy of our brethren in Egypt by welcoming “the Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace”. I would also like to express my gratitude to Most Rev. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa for entrusting me to represent him at Al-Azhar International Conference on Peace.

Fr. Bader added: “We greatly appreciate His Holiness the Pope’s interest in developing relations with Egypt as it was one of the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See which marks this year its 70th anniversary. Furthermore, in our capacity as Catholic churches, we also thank His Holiness the Pope for accepting the invitation of His Beatitude Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church Isaac Ibrahim and the other Catholic bishops in Egypt. We also view the visit as a means to further consolidate the friendship relationship between the Catholic Church and the other fraternal churches. This is why we look forward to the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, with hope and confidence.

He continued: “As for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Al-Azhar and his participation in the International Conference on Peace, this serves as a threshold of hope designed to strengthen Islamic-Christian relations, not only in dear Egypt, but in the entire world. The Islamic-Christian cooperation is one of the major cornerstones of justice and peace in the world, especially in addressing the challenges facing the human family, foremost of which being the challenges of terrorism and extremism, as well as the challenges of poverty, unemployment, job opportunities, and providing hope to the future generations.

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