“Guardian of Mount Zion and of the Holy Sepulcher for 12 years” is the theme of the special video made as a tribute to Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. He recounts the challenges and joys of these past 12 years in an interview.
Fr. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, ofm
Custos Emeritus of the Holy Land
“Many people ask me about my future plans. Like everyone else, I obviously have plans; however, first of all, I am a monk, I am a son of obedience. I have walked in obedience, also during my mission as a guardian, but there will come a time when someone else will tell me, just as Jesus said to Peter, where to go and I know it is for the best.
“I am getting ready for this step which, in all truth, is not easy nor is it simple, in view of the fact that I have been living 25 years here, in the Middle East, that is, half of my life……I lived here the most significant part of my life. I am 50 years old, and [ I spent] 25 years here. After 12 years of service as Guardian, which has placed me in a certain context, leaving is not simple, it requires preparation….I am spiritually preparing for this next step of my life, after which I will be ready to experience the freedom that I will be able and will try to have.
“One of the little-known aspects of the Custody of the Holy Land is the almost daily and very close, almost intimate relationship with non-Catholic Christian churches. The meeting between Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis was a turning point, or perhaps the end of a process and the beginning of another. As I said in other circumstances, the relations between the different Churches have become much more cordial: although each remains within its jurisdiction, their interaction is more friendly.”
Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
“The first word for Father Pierbattista that comes to mind is ‘THANK YOU’: as the Custos of the Holy Land for 12 years, he has served with great wisdom, with great ability to govern and to uplift people’s spirits, and to also create those bridges in the maintenance of which we are all asked to cooperate. I think Father Pierbattista is a great asset to the Custody of the Holy Land, and I hope he continues to be.”