On Sunday, June 5, the Latin parish of St. Savior in Jerusalem celebrated a mass in honor of the departing Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa. In the presence of the Vicar General of the Friars Minor, Br. Julio César Bunader, and the general visitor of the Custody of the Holy Land, Br. Várnai Jakab, many friars, religious and parishioners were present to give thanks for the twelve years of Franciscan’s service at the head of the Custody of the Holy Land.
After his homily, Br. Firas Hijazin, the pastor of the parish, thanked the Father Custos on behalf of the parishioners and of all the friars in the service of the Latin parish of Jerusalem. As a sign of gratitude, gifts were offered to the Custos by the parish of Jerusalem.
Before the final blessing, the Father Custos addressed the congregation saying, “Gratitude is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And as the Gospel of the day says, it is Christ who gives life. We have Christ among us; He is already among us. Now it is up to us to open our eyes and see his presence and the gifts he offers us.”
“I have been thanked many times these days, and now it’s my turn to thank some people as well,” he continued. “First, I thank the Lord for my 26 years in Jerusalem and my 12 years as Custos. Now, this will be a new chapter in my life. What I received in this city, from my brothers and the community is immeasurable. I learned a lot from each and every one of you, and I give thanks for all that we have done together in spite of the failures and difficulties. However, the Lord continues to do great things here. I will pray for you; and you know that I have loved you and I that I will continue to love you. Although we are a small and fragile community,” he said, “we remain at the heart of the life of the Church. We want this wounded place to continue to be an area with the presence of Christian life. As today’s Gospel says, we want to be in Jesus’ presence and do everything for the glory of Christ.”
After the mass, the Scouts led the crowd to the Immaculate Conception church hall for a snack and a friendly gathering. The friars, religious of all communities, old and young parishioners waited in line so as to thank the Custos one by one and to take a picture to remember the occasion.» custodia.org