Before Pope Francis leaves for the Holy Land tomorrow, he stops for a visit at one of his favorite places in Rome: St. Mary Major. 

From the CNS blog: Tight security and traffic jams concern Israelis and Palestinians ahead of the pope's trip. 

From Time magazine: When Pope Francis is in the Holy Land, expect the unexpected. 

From NY Times: Seeking balance on Mideast visit, pope pleases few

This weekend, walk with the pontiff as he journeys to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Our blog will be updated regularly.

The process begins to find a replacement for Chicago Cardinal Francis George. 

Pittsburgh Diocese hires Michel Therrion as new secretary of evangelization and Catholic education

From the Catholic Herald: Catholics in Libya living in fear.

A senior figure in the "We are Church" movement is excommunicated. 

From CNS: Jackie Kennedy's letters to a priest have been removed from auction.

From RNS: Five reasons why conservatives are losing the gay marriage fight.

Finally, from Confessions of a Catholic Dad: “When do I get to join the white cookie party?”

Have a wonderful weekend!

Gretchen R. Crowe is editor of OSV Newsweekly. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.