“As of today you are members of the Church of Jerusalem”
“On this occasion, I profess my firm faith in all that upholds the Symbol of Faith of the Holy Catholic Church and each of its articles, as also in all that the Catholic Church, through its Magisterium, unceasingly proposes to our Faith”.
After reading this introduction, Fr. Orlando Sbicca, of the Archdiocese of Perugia, Fr. Michael McDonagh, incardinated in the Diocese of Jerusalem, Fr. Elias Odeh, parish priest of Reineh, and Fr. Faysal Hijazin, Director General of the Patriarchate-run schools in Israel and in Palestine, became Canons of the Holy Sepulchre.
The investiture took place at the Parish Church of Beit Jala, presided by the Patriarch, His Beatitude Fouad Twal.
The ceremony was attended by the Patriarchal Vicars Bishop Shomali and Bishop Marcuzzo, as well as by other Canons, Fr. Adib Zoomot and Fr. Jamal Khader, several priests of the Patriarchate, and many seminarians of Beit Jala.
“Being Canon of the Holy Sepulchre, the Patriarch stated, means belonging to a Church-Cathedral, and, in this specific case, to Mother Church of Jerusalem, as a blood relationship gathers members of the same family. As of today, you are members of the greater family of the Church of Jerusalem”.
From his side, the Patriarch directed his words to a meeting held these last days with the Holy Father, on the occasion of the gathering at the Vatican of all Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops of the Middle East. More particularly, His Beatitude recounted the word which Pope Francis spoke during his homily at the Mass ending the Year of Faith: “I offer a cordial greeting to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches present. The exchange of peace which I will share with them is above all a sign of the appreciation of the Bishop of Rome for these communities which have confessed the name of Christ with exemplary faithfulness, often at a high price. With this gesture, through them, I would like to reach all those Christians living in the Holy Land, in Syria and in the entire East, and obtain for them the gift of peace and concord.”
The celebration was followed by a reception in honour of the new Canons in a very friendly atmosphere.