VATICAN CITY – On Monday, April 15, 2013 at 11:30 am, Pope Francis will receive His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the most senior Roman Catholic leader in the Holy Land. He will be accompanied by his Vicars, and the new Archbishop of Tunis and priests of the Latin Patriarchate studying in Rome.
On 19 March 2013, Patriarch Twal participated in the installation Mass of the new Pope. The Secretary of State subsequently proposed a meeting for next week between the Holy Father and the delegation of the Latin Patriarchate.
The Patriarch will be accompanied at the private audience by Bishop Giacinto Boulos-Marcuzzo (Auxiliary Bishop for Israel), Bishop William Shomali (Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem), Bishop Maroun Lahham (Auxiliary Bishop for Jordan) and Rev. Fr. David Neuhaus, S.J. (Vicar for the Hebrew speaking Catholic s in Israel). The new Archbishop of Tunis, Bishop Antoniazzi and three Patriarchate priests studying in Rome will join the official delegation.
This audience will allow the Pope Francis to become more acquainted with the Church in Jerusalem and its pastoral problems. In his Easter homily, the Patriarch highlighted that the new evangelization “must start out again from Jerusalem” thereby expressing that “the Lord invites us to be a light for the world…here to carry the light of faith at the centre of our region of the Middle East, where Christianity was born…, and where everything Christian was born.” On Easter Sunday, the Patriarch reiterated his invitation to the Pope to come to the Holy Land . In fact, immediately after the Holy Father’s election, the Patriarch communicated the invitation.
For a Pope, no doubt, there is no journey more important than the Holy Land, as three of Pope Francis’ predecessors went: Paul VI in 1964, Pope John Paul II in March 2000 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
Proof that the Holy Land and the Middle East in general are the main concerns of the Holy See is the fact that the Pope has recorded for the first time in his Easter message 2013, the conflict and violence in “beloved Syria” but also the persistent tensions in the land of Christ “lasting too long.” Pope Francis then called for peace in the Middle East, particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, hoping that they willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end the conflict.
By: Christophe Lafontaine