DEIR RAFAT – On Sunday, October 25, 2020, the Latin Patriarchate celebrated 100 years for its dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Palestine, at the Marian Shrine of Deir Rafat. On the eve of this feast, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa was appointed as the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, after four years as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, making him the 10th patriarch to hold this post since 1847.
Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, presided over the Mass, which was limited to the priests, seminarians, and religious communities, and a few Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, due to the COVID-19 imposed restrictions. Also present was Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem, as well as Fr. Hanna Kildani and Fr. Yacoub Rafidi who concelebrated the Mass.
In his homily, Bishop Marcuzzo indicated two reasons for the joyful feeling on this day, namely the centenary of Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Palestine, and the appointment of Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa as Patriarch of the Jerusalem Diocese. He stressed that the celebration was an occasion for the Christians of the Holy Land to renew their trust in Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of mankind for regardless of their faiths.
He said that “a hundred years ago, after World War I, the Holy Land experienced political, social and economic difficulties that transcend what we are witnessing nowadays due to the pandemic. In 1920, Patriarch Luigi Barlassina made a ceremonial entry into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and dedicated himself and the diocese to Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed mother under the title of the Queen of Palestine.
Archbishop Girelli also addressed the faithful and conveyed the blessing of Pope Francis on the occasion of the centenary of this consecration. He also wished that the Virgin Mary would protect Christians and all the residents of the Holy Land.
Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem