Pope Francis congratulates Patriarch Twal on his 50 years of Priesthood
VATICAN CITY/ JERUSALEM – On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, His Holiness Pope Francis sent a letter to His Beatitude Fouad Twal to congratulate him on his 50 years of priesthood and at the same time thank him for the many missions that the Holy See has entrusted him to this day. Please find below the English translation of the letter of Pope Francis (original in Latin).
To His Beatitude our venerable brother
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
It would certainly please you to go back in your memory to that distant day, that decisive day in your life, when you left behind everything in order to become – by the Almighty’s blessings – an administrator and deliverer of God’s manifold graces. Since your ordination, fifty years have passed which you have dedicated in priestly service. It is therefore fitting that this memory should culminate in an appropriate festivity.
We therefore thought of joining you in remembering the early stages of your life beginning in Jordan, your native country, and also the days of your priestly studies, which you pursued at the Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala. Indeed, it was there that you began, enriched with the Sacrament of Holy Orders, your priestly ministry, urging the faithful to maintain the legacy of their ancestral faith and devotion, despite the manifold hurdles and hardships, all the while remembering their courageous predecessors.
Having completed your basic education and specialization in Church Law at the Pontifical Lateran University, you zealously offered your services to the Holy See, in several countries and later at the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, handling the administration of affairs that would profit and bear spiritual richness in the Universal Church.
On your appointment by the late St Pope John Paul II as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tunis, you were certainly aware of the importance of that region which had prospered in the past, and you undertook to revive among believers the memory of the faith inherited through the ages. At the same time, you were entrusted with the Presidency of the North Africa Bishops Conference.
Several years later, our predecessor Pope Benedict XVI gave his consent to appoint you as Patriarch of Jerusalem. There is much evidence there, of which you are perfectly aware, that attests to the importance of this universal city, and you continue to present it to the followers of all religions in the area, in order to work together to overcome the hurdles, regardless of their nature, and to spread an atmosphere of mutual understanding and action.
Our beloved brother,
All that has been said is indeed worthy of pride and praise. We want to say it sincerely at this time when you are celebrating this unique event: your Golden Jubilee of Priesthood. We therefore come to you – as though we stand next to you – to assure you of our fraternal love, and to implore God’s rewards, together with our paternal apostolic blessing on your dear person first of all, and desiring it to spread over the faithful who surround you, we ask you to think of us in your prayers.
Issued at the City of Vatican on May 17, 2016, the fourth year of our Pontificate.