One of the important weeks of the Latin Patriarchate, was the past week which was exciting as well as exuding hope and joy, while mapping plans for a brighter, more prominent, and functional future in the communities that incorporate the Latin Patriarchate, namely in Palestine, Jordan, and Cyprus. Yet, what took place last week transcended the patriarchate from a geographical spot located among several countries to a universal status while being monitored in various international forums. This is attributed to the fact that Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa received “the red hat and the cardinal ring assigned to the cardinals,” as part of a celebration in which 21 new cardinals were created, with the direct appointment of Saint Peter’s 265th successor, namely Pope Francis who referred to them as the symphony in which musicians from various countries take part.
The Latin Patriarchate community came to the Vatican to engulf its patriarch with jubilation and solidarity. He is the one who lived in the Holy Land for 34 years shouldering one responsibility after the other proceeding from custos of the Holy Land or Head of the Franciscan Order, to apostolic administrator, and then to Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Now he remains the patriarch of Jerusalem, however he is called a cardinal implying a direct assistant to His Holiness the Pope in his spiritual leadership duties in the Church. Consequently, since he is under 80 years of age, he will be one of the voters for the next pope, who will succeed Pope Francis, may he live long, or if he decides to resign, as has been the case with his predecessor, Pope Benedict, may his soul rest in peace.
In attendance were bishops, priests and members of the staff of the Latin patriarchate from Jordan and Palestine, in addition to heads of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in the Holy Land, and a delegation from the United States that included parishioners living in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In attendance on the Palestinian side was an official delegation that included Chairman of the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine Dr. Ramzi Khoury, Palestine Ambassador to the Holy See Issa Kassissieh, and Palestine Ambassador to Italy Ms. Abeer Odeh.
As for Jordan, the official governmental delegation was headed by Secretary General for Political and Diplomatic Affairs at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Majid Al-Qatarneh, and Jordanian Ambassador to Italy Qais Abu Dayyeh. What drew attention was the presence of Christian members of the Lower House of Parliament, namely Majdi Al-Ya’qoub, Ayman Mdanat, Haitham Al-Zayadin, Ra’ed Smairat, Dhirar Al-Dawoud, Omar Al-Naber, Hayel Al-‘Ayyash, Farid Haddad, and Wael Al-Razouk. They attended the ceremony in appreciation of this important ecclesiastical and spiritual event relevant to the Church of Jerusalem, which is the main artery of the Church in Jordan, in addition to the importance of Jerusalem concerning the Hashemite custodianship of its sanctities.
As for the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM), its delegation was the first to arrive in Rome in order to have a special audience with His Holiness Pope Francis marking the 10th anniversary of the launching of the CCSM and the 20th anniversary of the launching of abouna.org websites. The delegation, which was headed by the CCSM Director Fr. Rif'at Bader, presented the Pope with Jordan River water and mosaic paintings while the Jordanian keffiyeh (head cover) was placed on the shoulders of the Pope, who greeted the CCSM in his keynote speech. Fr. Bader told him, "We look forward for a second visit by Your Holiness to Jordan." He replied, looking at the sky, “I hope so.” He then approached the delegation and said, "Convey my greetings to His Majesty the King." Fr. Bader told him: Your greetings will be conveyed because you are friends." His Holiness the Pope replied, “Definitely friends.”
May friendship and spiritual jubilation last long.