Special focus: first official visit of the new Governor General to the Holy Land
The Grand Magisterium delegation, accompanied by the Governor General, was received at the Latin Patriarchate by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, New Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem.
From September 10 to 16, 2017, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti of Modrone, Governor General of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, made his first official visit to the Holy Land. He was accompanied on this trip by a delegation composed of Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, Master of Ceremonies of the Order, Thomas McKiernan, President of the Holy Land Commission of the Grand Magisterium, Professor Bartholomew McGettrick, member of the same Commission, and the author of this report who is the director of the Order’s Communication Office in Rome.
During this visit, the Governor General was able to spend time with his hosts at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – in Israel, Palestine and Jordan – focusing his attention on the ongoing projects supported by the Order in the field of education, pastoral care and ministry for refugees. This visit providentially took place during 170th anniversary of the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate and the reorganization of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre by Pope Pius IX in the summer of 1847.
Before his departure, the Governor General had the opportunity to meet with the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Msgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, in order to prepare for his pilgrimage since the Archbishop was unfortunately in Rome for the meeting of the newly appointed bishops.
“Mabruk”: it is with this word of blessing, pronounced in Arabic, that Bishop Giacinto- Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, welcomed the Governor General and the delegation accompanying him, explaining that “this word evokes the thanksgiving we owe for the good that has been received as well as the strength needed to do the good that remains to be done.” “This is all I need,” said Ambassador Leonardo Visconti of Modrone, eager to make the most of this trip to aid him in the tasks that await him in his new position.
The group then went to pray at the tomb of the first two patriarchs of Jerusalem appointed after the restoration of the Patriarchate in the nineteenth century, Msgr. Giuseppe Valerga and Msgr. Vincenzo Bracco, entrusting to their intercession the success of this visit to serve the “living stones” of the Holy Land.