Pope Francis today elevated the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, 58, to cardinal in Rome during a religious ceremony held in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City in the presence of an official Palestinian delegation, along with official, ecclesiastical, and popular delegations from Palestine, Jordan and all parts of the world. The ceremony was attended by Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Chairman of the Supreme Presidential Committee for Follow-up of Church Affairs in Palestine, Ramzi Khoury, Advisor to the President, Mustafa Abu al-Rub, Member of the Presidential Committee, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Vatican City, Issa Kassisieh, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine and Jordan Theophilos III, Vicar Custody of the Holy Land Ibrahim Faltas, and a number of church heads and priests from the Latin Patriarchate. A number of participants in the ceremony carried the Palestinian flag, emphasizing the importance of the elevation to Cardinal of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in raising the voice of the Holy City throughout the world and highlighting the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation and its violations that affect the Islamic and Christian holy sites and clergy, as well as depriving the Palestinian people the right to freely access places of worship in Jerusalem in light of the existence of the separation and racist wall and military barriers surrounding the city. In addition to Patriarch Pizzaballa, Pope Francis elevated to cardinal in Rome 20 bishops in the Catholic Church from various parts of the world in a ceremony known as the 'consistory,' held for the ninth time since the Pope's election in March 2013 as part of his effort to make the church more inclusive and universal, going beyond the borders of Europe to choose clerics from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to fill the highest ranks in the Catholic Church. The cardinals, according to the legal age, participate in the elections to choose the Roman Pontiff, in addition to the task of supporting the Pope in caring for the universal Church and the local churches in their numerous dioceses spread throughout the world. Pope Francis announced the appointment of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pizzaballa, as Cardinal on July 9, noting that the appointment of new cardinals in the Archdiocese of Rome demonstrates the inseparable relationship between the Holy See and the churches spread throughout the world. Pizzaballa was born in Bergamo, Italy, on April 21, 1965. He entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1984, and on September 15, 1990, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral church of Bologna, before moving to Jerusalem in October of that year. After his philosophical and theological studies, he obtained a degree in Biblical Theology from the Franciscan Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. On July 2, 1999, he formally entered the service of the Custody of the Holy Land and also served as Patriarchal Vicar in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He was elected Custos of the Holy Land for the first time in May 2004, for a period of six years. In May 2010, he was reappointed for a second term of three years, and in June 2013 for another three years. On June 24, 2016, Pope Francis appointed him Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, before his episcopal ordination took place in September 2016 in Italy, and on October 24, 2020, Pope Francis appointed him as the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Source: En - Palestine news & Information Agency - WAFA