NEW CUSTOS OF THE HOLY LAND
Br. Pierbattista Pizzaballa ofm
By decree of the Holy See (15.05.2004) Br. Pierbattista Pizzaballa ofm, has been chosen as the new Custos of the Custody of the Holy Land. He replaces of the outgoing Custos Fr. Giovanni Battistelli ofm who served for the past six years. The Custos of the Holy Land is nominated by the General Definitorium with the approval of the Holy See according to the Pontifical Statutes which govern this entity of the Order of Friars Minor. Br. Pizzaballa is one of the youngest elected for this office.
Br. Pierbattista Pizzaballa ofm, was born at Cologno al Serio (Bergamo) on 21 April 1965. He entered into the novitiate on 22nd September 1984 (La Verna). He was simply professed on 7th September 1985, solemnly professed on 14th October 1989 and ordained priest on the 15th September 1990.
He did his initial formation in the OFM colleges of the Emilia-Romagna and obtained his BA in theology in 1990 (Pontificium Atheneum Antonianum under prof. M. Adinolfi). He proceeded with his studies for Licentiate in Theoloogy with biblical specialization at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem (1990-1993), which he obtained in 1993. He attended courses of modern hebrew language in Jerusalem (1993-1994) and took specialization courses in semitic languages at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1995-1999) and is preparing his doctorate at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. He published with M. Pazzini (1995) the Rite of the Mass in Hebrew (Seder seudat ha adon. Ordo Missae hebraice) and translated various liturgical texts in Hebrew for the hebrew speaking catholic communities.
Since 1998 is assistant professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and the Studium Theologicum Hierosolymitanum teaching biblical Hebrew and Judaism. He was Parish vicar for the catholic community of hebrew language in Jerisalem. He was also general assistant to H. E. Mons. Jean-Baptiste Gourion, Auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for the pastoral care of the hebrew speaking catholics in Israel. Since 2001 he was superior of the Friary of Sts. Joachim and Anne in Jerusalem. President of the Commission for misisonary Evangelisation and member of the Commisison for Judaism and Islam of the Custody of the Holy Land.