On Saturday, September 30, Pope Francis elevated Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa to the rank of cardinal during a religious ceremony that took place at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City, in the presence of an official Jordanian and Palestinian delegation, along with ecclesiastical and popular delegations from all regions of the Holy Land.
In addition to Patriarch Pizzaballa, His Holiness the Pope elevated 20 bishops to the rank of cardinal from different parts of the world. The importance of this high ecclesiastical rank lies in the fact that members of the College of Cardinals participate, according to age, in the elections of the Pontiff of the Catholic Church, in addition to assisting the Pope in taking care of the affairs of the Universal Church and the local churches in their numerous dioceses which are spread throughout the world.
At the end of the ceremony, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader stated from the Vatican that the Latin Patriarchate--whose spiritual authority extends to Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus--is jubilant marking this nomination which is considered a tribute to a person who served in the Holy Land for 34 years. Fr. Bader indicated that this nomination is an honoring of all the efforts exerted by the Catholic Church and the Christians in general with regards to developing their communities through their spiritual and educational institutions, especially the schools that are spread throughout the towns and cities of Jordan and Palestine.
Fr. Bader continued that Cardinal Pizzaballa had stated a few days ago that this nomination would elevate the city of Jerusalem in the global and international ecclesiastical arena, especially with regards to calling for peace for the Holy City, and for the attainment of just and comprehensive peace in all parts of dear Palestine.
The delegation of the Latin Patriarchate included a number of bishops, priests, deacons, and believers from various regions of the diocese, as well as a delegation from the Catholic Center for Studies and Media that met with His Holiness Pope Francis two days ago and presented him with holy water from the Jordan River.
After the nomination ceremony, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, received well-wishes at the lobby of the Apostolic Palace from official, ecclesiastical, and popular delegations that attended the celebration of his elevation as cardinal at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, wishing him success in his new universal and ecclesiastical mission.
Among the participants in the ceremony on the Jordanian side were Secretary General for Political and Diplomatic Affairs at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Majid Al-Qatarneh, in addition to Jordanian Ambassador to Italy Qais Abu Dayyeh, and a number of Jordanian members of Lower House of Parliament.
The participants from Palestine included Dr. Ramzi Khoury, Chairman of the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine, Member of the Executive Committee Faisal Aranki, Palestine Ambassador to the Holy See Issa Kassissieh, and Palestine Ambassador to Italy Abeer Odeh. On the ecclesiastical side, the participants included Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilios III, and the Deputy Custodian of the Holy Land Fr. Ibrahim Faltas.