A visit to Rome’s main synagogue. Diplomatic relations with Israel. A handwritten plea asking forgiveness for Christian persecution left at Judaism’s holiest site in Jerusalem.

With his landmark actions, Pope John Paul II strove throughout his 27-year papacy to overcome the tortured two-millennia history of Catholic-Jewish relations.

In a sign of appreciation for those efforts, some in the crowd at his beatification Sunday in St. Peters’s Square will be Jews, including an Israeli Cabinet minister who lost most of his family in the Holocaust but was hidden by a Belgium family who raised him as a Christian.

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