During John Paul II’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000, the frail pontiff visited the Western Wall, the remnant of the ancient Jewish Temple. With quivering hands he placed in a crevice of the wall a piece of paper on which he had written a prayer. His visit to Judaism’s holiest place was one of several acts on a trip that signaled a new era in the church’s relationship with the people John Paul called “elder brothers” in the faith.
The note with the pope’s prayer is displayed—next to the white skullcap he wore that day and the cane with which he steadied himself—at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, part of the exhibit “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II & the Jewish People.” The exhibit ends in New York on March 16, but will be on display at Loyola University in Chicago from April 14 to August 11. It will also travel to Philadelphia; Clearwater, Florida; Los Angeles; and possibly Poland. It will eventually find a permanent home in Israel.