“We are witnesses of the Risen Lord” Patriarch in Italy   2013/03/15
By: JJ

NORTHERN ITALY – From March 5-11, 2013, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem visited Northern Italy. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto witnessed the Christian faith of the Mother Church through Masses, meetings and conferences.
Patriarch Twal began his brief Italian tour in Trieste. At the invitation of Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, the Patriarch participated part in a conference organized by the Cattedra di San Giusto of the Diocese of Trieste. His Beatitude stated before a large audience from various locations in the region that, “as children and descendants of the Mother Church, we are called to be Christians and witnesses of faith in the Risen Lord, and to profess it in words and deeds.”

The Patriarch then explained the reasons for his presence in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. “I am here with you to share the courage and the difficulties of the testimony of the Holy Land Christians, now reduced to a small minority, living among Jews and Muslims, in a complex religious, political and military environment, and how difficult it is to live between territorial occupation and checkpoints.”

In his speech, he focused on the youth: “The peace of tomorrow will be measured by the conviction and commitment that everyone now has in the education of children for tolerance and mutual respect. I want to affirm the fundamental educational role of the family, and the role of our schools and universities, attended by Christians and Muslims, to prepare young people to become mature and capable of assuming positions of responsibility in the future.”

Patriarch Twal also shared his testimony as Pastor of the Mother Church at the Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles, in the province of Treviso in Motta di Livenza,. The occasion was the 503rd anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to a local farmer. The sanctuary is one of the great places of Marian devotion in the Veneto region. Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit to honor Our Lady of Miracles, the exact place where she appeared to the young farmer, Giovanni Cigana on March 9, 1510. Many Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre from Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and Lombardy were present at the religious ceremony, wanting to be with the Patriarch and show their closeness to him who is the Grand Prior of the Order.

During his homily, he spoke of the relationship between the Jerusalem Church and the Diocese of Vittorio Veneto. He stressed that the two bishops of the Holy Land, Bishop Giacinto Marcuzzo and Bishop Ilario Antoniazzi, recently appointed to head the Diocese of Tunis, come from San Polo di Piave, a town not far from the sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles.

His Beatitude then concluded by recalling the twinning between the Cathedral of Motta Livenza and the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which took place in 2010 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Marian apparition. A group of priests and seminarians from Beit Jala went to Motta di Livenza for this celebration,.

At the end of the Mass concelebrated by many priests, the Patriarch shared a moment of fellowship with the Knights and Ladies of the Order and their spouses.

His Beatitude then went to Vicenza and gave a lecture on the Christian presence in the Holy Land. He visited Bishop Benjamin Pizziol, at the House of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, and finally met the traders of Confartigianato Enterprises (the most representative organization of Italian crafts and small businesses).
Nicola Scopelliti

Photos of Giorgio Furlan


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