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2011
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Holy Land Custos on a visit to Malta

December 5th, 2011

On 1-4 December Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa ofm, Custos of the Holy Land, came on a visit to Malta. He was invited by Fr. Anthony Chircop ofm, Holy Land Commissary in Malta. During his visit the Custos met the Archbishop Mgr. Paul Cremona, the Bishop of Gozo Mgr. Mario Grech, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr. Tommaso Caputo. He also went on a courtesy visit to His Excellency Dr. George Abela, President of the Republic of Malta. Fr. Pierbattista also met the Franciscan friars and the Minister Provincial Fr. Sandro Overend ofm. He celebrated a Mass for pilgrims who have been to the Holy Land during these past years, during the pilgrimages organized by the Maltese Holy Land Commissary. Fr. Pierbattista also delivered a public lecture at the University of Malta, on the theme “The presence and mission of the Franciscans in the Holy Land between past glories and future challenges in a multicultural society”.

Fr. Pizzaballa was appointed Custos of the Holy Land for the first time in 2004, for a period of six years, and was reconfirmed by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor for another three year period in 2010. Born on 21 April 1965 in Cologno al Serio in the diocese and province of Bergamo, he began formation with the friars of the Franciscan Province of Emilia Romagna. He was ordained priest on 15 September 1990, and entered into the effective service of the Custody of the Holy Land in 1999. Upon completion of philosophical and theological studies, he received a bachelor’s degree in theology on 19 June 1990 from the Pontificial University Antonianum in Rome. He completed his studies of specialization at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, obtaining his Masters degree in Biblical Theology on 21 June 1993, and afterwards received another Masters degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was a professor of modern Hebrew at the Franciscan Faculty of Biblical and Archaeological Sciences in Jerusalem, and has done pastoral work with the Hebrew-speaking faithful for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

From: www.ofm.org

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