JERUSALEM, Israel - Pope Benedict held his final Middle East mass in Nazareth Thursday, as he prepares to conclude his 5-day trip to Israel and the West Bank.
Today, Nazareth is a majority Muslim town. But some 40,000 Christians gave the Pope a festive welcome in the city where Jesus grew up.
The pope used the Nazareth backdrop to preach on biblical family values. He also referred to recent strife between Nazareth Christians and Muslims, and urged unity.
"Nazareth has experienced tensions in recent years which have harmed relations between its Christian and Muslim communities," Benedict said. "I urge people of goodwill in both communities to repair the damage that has been done and in fidelity to our common belief in one God, the Father of the human family, to work to build bridges."
For the most part, the pontiff steered clear of politics in Nazareth.
On Wednesday, he called for a Palestinian state, visited a Palestinian refugee camp and prayed for the security barrier built by Israel to come down.
Stay with CBNNews.com for more on the Pope's trip to Israel, from CBN News Jerusalem Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell, after 10am ET.