Young Venezuelan Wins Trip to Holy Land During Pope Francis' Visit

'It has always been my dream and I have always asked in my prayers to visit the land of Jesus,' says winner of a Tourism Ministry contest.

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Haaretz
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Pope Francis greets the crowd at the end of the Palm Sunday celebrations at St Peter's square, the Vatican, April 13, 2014.
Pope Francis greets the crowd at the end of the Palm Sunday celebrations at St Peter's square, the Vatican, April 13, 2014.Credit: AFP
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Haaretz

One lucky Venezuelan has won a competition to visit the Holy Land at the same time as Pope Francis.

A Tourism Ministry website launched the competition for the trip for two to the Holy Land during the papal visit from May 24 to 26. "Imagine the excitement and spiritual high of having your pilgrimage to the Holy Land coincide with Pope’s," the website says.

To enter, contestants were asked to upload a 15-second video to Instagram saying why they wanted to travel to the Holy Land.

The lucky winner of the contest is one Gustavo Adolfo Franco Picaza, 22, from Venezuela, the Holy Land Pilgrimage website said.

The young pilgrim from Maracaibo was thrilled he will be traveling to the Holy Land at the same time as the pope.

"I come from a very Christian family and ever since I was a child, it has always been my dream and I have always asked in my prayers to visit the land of Jesus, the land that was promised by God to His people, the land where God sent us His Son to save the world," he said in response.

He also expressed hope that he would be able to meet the pontiff himself while on the trip.

"It would be phenomenal if while I’m visiting the land of God, I had the opportunity to meet the Holy Father and say to him, 'Holy Father, from Venezuela and from the Land Promised by God to His children, I pray for you and for peace on earth.'”

Pope Francis' three-day visit will include stops in Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

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