Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Twal retires, Apostolic Administrator appointed

2016-06-24 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who reached the age of 75 for retirement last October.  The Pope has elevated to Archbishop Franciscan Father  Pierbattista Pizzaballa, former Custos of the Holy Land for twelve years, and appointed him as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  He will hold the position until the appointment of a new Patriarch.

In a statement posted on its online site, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said “The Bishops, clergy and faithful of the Latin Patriarchate sincerely thank His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal who has just completed his mission, and welcome the Apostolic Administrator with best wishes in his new mission.  The entire Diocese joins in prayer for the intentions of the Patriarch Emeritus and the new Apostolic Administrator.”

The Episcopal Ordination of Father Pizzaballa will take place in September.

Bishop Shomali welcomes appointment of new Administrator

Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate has welcomed the appointment of Archbishop-elect Pizzaballa  saying that he knows the situation in the Holy Land very well and that reaction has been very positive.  

Wishing him success in his new mission, Bishop Shomali says he expects Fr. Pizzaballa will be able to contribute to interrfaith dialogue and in the administration of the Patriarchate.  

Bishop Shomali observes that it is not the first time that a Franciscan Custos has been at the helm of the Latin Church in the Holy Land. He notes that Mgr. Piavi of the early XXth century and Mgr. Gori (1950s) were two Franciscans to sit as Patriarchs.  “So, it’s an experience that repeats itself for the good of the diocese,”  he adds. 

Gratitude for Patriarch Twal’s years of service

Bishop Shomali extends  “truly sincere thanks” to Patriarch Twal for the nine years he has dedicated to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  “We are grateful to him; we wish him good health and that he continues to serve the mission in other ways.”  Regarding his hopes for a future of peace in the Holy Land, Bishop Shomali says politicians need to have “a lot of good will” and “we will help through our prayers.”

Patriarch Twal, born in Jordan, succeeded Palestine native Michel Sabbah as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem on 21 June 2008.  He was enthroned at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem the following day.

On 29 June 2008, Patriarch Twal received the pallium at the hands of Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Former Franciscan Custos becomes Apostolic Administrator of Latin Patriarchate

From northern Italy, Pierbattista Pizzaballa was ordained priest on 15 September 1990. He was transferred to the Holy Land, in Jerusalem, in October 1990.

In July 1999 he formally entered in service to the Custody of the Holy Land.  In 1995 he was responsible for the publication of the Roman Missal in Hebrew, and translated various liturgical texts in Hebrew for the Catholic Communities in Israel. He lectured Hebrew at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. He covered the role of Vicar General of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for the pastoral care of Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel. Since 2008 he is a Consultor in the Commission for relations with Judaism of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Unity among Christians.

He was elected Custos of the Holy Land in 2004 and was repeatedly confirmed in that position until he stepped down last April. 

(from Vatican Radio)