Sahar Talaat Mostafa, head of Parliament’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee – Press photo Sahar Talaat Mostafa, head of Parliament’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee – Press photo

Holy Family's Flight into Egypt to boost tourism: MP

Fri, Oct. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 October 2017: Pope Francis on Wednesday organized a special greeting in Rome for a high-level Egyptian delegation led by Tourism Minister Yahya Rashid to promote a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt.

Sahar Talaat Mostafa, head of Parliament’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee, attended the Pope’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Talaat affirmed that reviving the path of the Holy Family's journey to Egypt will significantly boost and affect religious tourism to Egypt tremendously.

- What was your impression about attending the ceremony?

Let me begin by saying that I was thrilled and proud that I am participating at one of the most significant international events; it shed the light on the Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.

- How to you feel about Egypt being the centre of this remarkable event?

The great thing about the event is that it was not a mere announcement of a religious pilgrimage, but also reflecting a civilized and cultural image about Egypt to the whole world. Moreover, it is a positive step to let Muslim and Christian Egyptians know more about the rich history of Egypt.

- How would the Ministry of Tourism prepare for the pilgrimage?

Well, organizing a religious pilgrimage to Egypt would take much effort and coordination; after a meeting with the Tourism Minister, it was agreed that a number of entities, governorates and government bodies such as the Ministry of Antiquities and the Ministry of Civil Aviation will participate in organizing the event while coordinating with the Tourism Ministry to ensure the success of the pilgrimage.

The pope’s blessing comes as a mandatory step in the process of initiating the Roman Catholic pilgrimage program to Egypt, which is set to launch next year.

The Flight into Egypt, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, is a biblical event that marks when an angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream to advise him into fleeing to Egypt with Mary and infant Jesus; the event itself holds a unique iconic representation.

Pope Francis described Egypt as a land of cohabitation and hospitality. He added that it is a land that encountered histories and civilization; he also passed on his blessing on Egyptians and prayed for Egypt’s protection from all sorts of evil and terrorism.

The route of the pilgrimage passes 25 different places that have their significant meanings to the Holy Family during the escape from Herod the Great who sought to kill the newborn "King of the Jews" and led the infanticide known as the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child.

A statement from the Tourism Ministry said eight main locations have been chosen to be the key stops of the pilgrimage route.
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