Patriarch Twal among 180 concelebrants at Holy Father’s Mass of Inauguration
ROME – Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter’s Square for the Mass of the Installation of Pope Francis, on Tuesday, March 19, six days after his election. His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, was among the concelebrants and one of those who greeted the new Pope.
Having just celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the election of Pope Francis in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, Patriarch Twal flew to Rome to participate in the inaugural Mass of the Holy Father. There were 180 cardinals, patriarchs and archbishops concelebrated with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, on the feast of Saint Joseph. In his homily, Pope Francis called each person to be guardians in the image of St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Family. It is the vocation “which concerns everyone.” It is a question of learning to “keep the whole creation (…) to keep people, to take care of everyone, each person with love, those who are most vulnerable and are often in the periphery of our heart.” The Pope stated repeatedly, to the applause of 200,000 faithful: “We should not be afraid of kindness, of tenderness!” Finally, the Holy Father concluded with words of hope that seemed to be directly addressed to the Church in the Middle East: “Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.”
Eastern Catholic Patriarchs gathered in Rome
On the eve of the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis, the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs – or their representatives – present in Rome for the occasion, gathered at the initiative of His Beatitude Gregorios III, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. The meeting was held in the Melkite Church of St. Mary in Cosmedin. The religious leaders concentrated mainly on the study and analysis of the role of the Churches facing the serious crises currently happening throughout the Near and Middle East, citing the need for a Christian-Muslim Arab summit. The Patriarchs stressed the urgency of finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the source of so many other crises. They also emphasized a way of alerting the international community on the sensitive subject of the protection of the Christian presence in the region.
Amélie de La Hougue