BEIT JALA – On Friday, December 8th, 2023, H.B. Card. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited the Seminary of Beit Jala as part of his yearly pastoral visit, during which he presided over the mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which coincides with the anniversary of the Seminary.
Fr. Bernard Poggi, Rector of the Beit Jala Seminary, welcomed H.B. and congratulated him on his new rank as a Cardinal for the Catholic Church, and thanked him for his pastoral care for the diocese and the Seminary students in specific. Concelebrating the Mass were Mgr Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, vicar emeritus, Fr. Davide Meli, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate, and the priests of the Seminary.
In his homily, Card. Pizzaballa stressed the importance of living God’s call in our lives in these difficult times, saying: “We cannot deny the evil that exists in the world, but we must bring God’s grace and light to the world. It’s easy to complain about the negative things in the world, but we need people who are willing to speak life and hope into society.” And commenting on the reading, he compared the dialogue between God and Adam in Genesis with the dialogue between Our Lady and the Angel, noting that the Virgin Mary’s answer showed complete trust in God, unlike Adam’s answer stemming from fear as a result of sin. “The fear we experience today due to wars is a result of sin and a rupture of the relationship between man and God, but through the Virgin Mary God wanted to restore this communion, and not only that but also he wanted her to carry his divine presence through his Son Jesus Christ to the suffering man,” he added. Finally, he reminded the seminary students to bring God’s presence to humanity through the example of the Our Lady.
“The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in preparation for the feast of the Nativity, and as the doctrine indicates that God, by his previous divine wisdom, prepared a dwelling place for himself in Our Lady the Virgin Mary,” said Fr. Bernard, “as is the case at the seminary, where young man joins the institute to distinguish their vocation and be prepared to be another Christ in this world. Therefore there is a strong connection between the mission of the Seminary and this feast, in a spiritual sense.” Note, that the Seminary of Beit Jala was inaugurated in 1852 during this Solemnity. Upon returning from Rome, this is the first visit of the Cardinal to the Seminary after his elevation, to which Fr. Bernard expressed his great joy and gratitude stressing the importance for the students to receive spiritual guidance from their spiritual father and pastor.
The Seminary student Yusuf Handal said that the meeting with the Cardinal has a fatherly and pastoral dimension to it: “It is crucial for us to meet with H.B. outside the times of feasts and celebrations, as he is our pastor and needs to stay up to date about our affairs and get to know us throughout our preparation for the vocation so that he can discern our future mission once we are ordained. Also, the Preparatory year student Ghassan Haddad from Irbid – Jordan expressed his joy for choosing to join the Seminary to learn more about what God wants to do in his life and about his great love and mercy.
By: Miral Atik | lpj.org