(Source: CD/Robin Gomes, Vatican News)

Pope Francis is inviting Jews and Christians to “renew the bonds of friendship and commitment towards the most needy of our society, particularly in the current ordeal we are all going through”.

The Pope’s invitation came in a message to Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni of Rome, in which he offered his “heartiest best wishes” to him and the entire Jewish community of the city on the occasion of the Jewish feast of Pesach or Passover.

Pesach commemorates the start of the exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt, as narrated in the Bible.

Jesus Himself celebrated the feast of the Passover with His disciples in Jerusalem, just before His passion, death and resurrection, the solemn Paschal mysteries of the Christian faith that are celebrated during Holy Week that culminates with Easter. 

“May the Almighty, who has freed His beloved people from slavery and led them to the Promised Land, accompany you even today with the abundance of His blessings”, the Pope wrote in the message, said the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

“I assure my remembrance and ask you to continue to pray for me”, the Pope concluded.

Rabbi of Rome: “We are all committed to helping”

Di Segni reciprocated noting that, “this year is a special Easter in which normal life has been disrupted by the current epidemic that creates mourning, fears and economic and social disasters”. 

The Chief Rabbi assured, “we are all committed to help, to comfort, to solicit an examination of conscience and to ask our Creator for help”.

He pointed out that it is precisely at these moments that “we measure in concrete terms the common values of our faiths and the need to work together for the collective good”.

Di Segni concluded wishing that “in spite of everything, it be a peaceful Easter, the bearer of renewal and the announcement of a better world”.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.