Rome Newsroom, Nov 24, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa has entrusted his new mission as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem to the prayer of contemplative religious orders in the Holy Land.
Pizzaballa traveled to Galilee and the Sharon Plain Nov. 21 to entrust his mission leading the estimated 293,000 Latin Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Cyprus to the prayers of Discalced Carmelite sisters and Trappist monks.
He offered Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary at the Stella Maris Monastery, located on Mount Carmel in Haifa, where his predecessor as Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Albert, gave the monastic rule for the first Carmelite monks sometime between 1206 and 1214.
After a heart-to-heart conversation with the Carmelite nuns, Pizzaballa visited the Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Abbey in Latroun to entrust himself and the diocese to the prayer of the Trappist monks who reside there, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s website.
The new patriarch spent time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament with the Trappists and remained for the Solemn Vespers of the Feast of Christ the King.
Pizzaballa was named the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem by Pope Francis Oct. 24. The Italian archbishop had served as apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem since 2016.
Since 1990, shortly after his priestly ordination as a Franciscan, Pizzaballa has lived in the Middle East.
“The Holy Land changed my life. My life of faith also,” Pizzaballa told EWTN News Oct. 21.
Pizzaballa was born in Cologno al Serio, Bergamo, Italy, on April 21, 1965. He joined the Franciscans in 1984, making his solemn profession in 1989. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 15, 1990. A month later, he moved to the Holy Land, studying biblical theology at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem.
He served as Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for the pastoral care of Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel. He oversaw the publication of the Roman Missal in Hebrew in 1995.
He was Custos of the Holy Land — the major superior of the Friars Minor in the Middle East — from 2004 to 2016. He was appointed apostolic administrator sede vacante of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem on June 24, 2016.
One of the challenges Pizzaballa faces as Latin Patriarch is helping Latin Catholics in the Holy Land to weather the coronavirus crisis, which has had a severe economic impact on the community.
“For 30 years, for most of my life, I lived in the Holy Land, so I am part of the Holy Land and I continue to be part of it. So we have to remain united in prayer, first of all, in friendship; wherever Providence will bring me, I will bring the Holy Land,” he said.
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