On Sunday, July 9th, at the usual Noon Angelus in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis announced the creation of 21 new cardinals.
Among them are two prelates who are well-known and respected in Washington: the current Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, former Custos of the Holy Land, and the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
The Pontiff’s announcement surprised the entire Catholic community of the Holy Land, as Archbishop Pizzaballa is the bishop of the entire diocese, which includes the territories of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Cyprus.
For the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, this is a great joy, as Archbishop Pizzaballa led the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land as Father Custos from 2004 to 2016; in fact, in 2016 Pope Francis entrusted him with the leadership of the Diocese of Jerusalem, appointing him as an apostolic administrator.
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, in a statement from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued shortly after the Pope’s announcement, expressed surprise at the news and thanked the Lord and Pope Francis. He then invited everyone to pray “to always be in humble service of the Kingdom of God in the Holy Land.”
This morning, our Father Custos, Fr. Francis Patton, congratulated the Patriarch through a statement found on the Custody of the Holy Land website.
In 2016, Archbishop Christophe Pierre also received an important new assignment from Pope Francis: to become the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Having officially joined the Holy See’s diplomatic corps in 1977, Archbishop Pierre previously served as nuncio to Haiti, Uganda, and Mexico.
The friars of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America congratulate the two prelates and also extend their congratulations to the prefect of the Dicastery of the Oriental Churches, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, who is also among the future new cardinals.