His Beatitude PatriarchFouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalemarrived in New York on June 22, 2011 marking the beginning of a 10-day visit during which he met meet with prominent Americans, including Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religious and civic leaders along the East Coast. His trip was organized by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalemalso serves as Chairman of its Advisory Board.
The goal of the trip was two-fold. It is a pastoral outreach to the large Diaspora of Palestinian and Jordanian Christians living in the U.S. and to the American supporters of the Holy Land Christians. The Patriarchsaid he hopes “to encourage our faithful to always to keep a sense of belonging to the Holy Land, the land of their birth and to remember their brothers – the ‘little flock’ – who live there…and encourage them to support ourmission through prayer and financial assistance.”
The trip also afforded a unique opportunity for Patriarch Twal to meet and dialogue with key Americans on critical issues impacting the Holy Land. Reflecting on the purposes of the trip, HCEF President Rateb Rabie, KCHS noted “His Beatitude is a dedicated man of peace who cares deeply for his flock, striving at the same time to bring awareness and strengthened support for the well-being of all the peoples of the Holy Land.”
In New York, Patriarch Twal celebrated the solemnity of Corpus Christi in St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the current President of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference (USCCB). He met with Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Raymond Teatum and officers of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, he also traveled briefly to Connecticut to meet with Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Chaplain, Knights of Columbus.
Patriarch Twal also took a day to visit the campus of Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, meeting with its faculty and touring the campus. The Holy Family University has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to work closely with the American University of Madaba, a new initiative of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.. His Beatitude also visited withH.E. John Cardinal Foley who until his retirement as Grand Master of the Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, was an ardent benefactor of the Latin Patriarchate and champion of the Patriarch’s initiatives including the establishment of the American University of Madaba, which will open its doors for the first time in October 2011.
A sure highlight of the trip was hisWhite Housemeeting with Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor to the United States President. Patriarch Twal alsohad several other key meetings planned in Washington, DC, the first of which was hosted by Msgr. Ronny Jenkins and Dr. Stephen Colecchi of the USCCB. Subsequently, he conferred with prominent Arab, Jewish and Christian leaders including Dr. James Zogby of the Arab American Institute (AAI). The trip concluded with a special Celebratory Receptionorganized by HCEF and held in honor of His Beatitude. Under the auspices of His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, this very special event was heldat The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC.Father Emil Salayta, Head of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal Court of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem accompanied HB on his U.S. visit.
For more information about HCEF and its programs, please visit our website at www.hcef.org