Sunday, 19 July, 1998 News source:Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land
(Christian Information Centre - Jerusalem)
Msgr. Pietro Sambi was born in Sogliano on the Rubicon (FO), on 27th June 1938 and was ordained priest for the Diocese of Montefeltro on the 14th March 1964. He speaks fluent english, spanish and french. He holds docto- rates in Theology and Canon Law. In 1969 he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. He served in the Apostolic Nunciatures of Cameroon, Jerusalem (Apostolic Delegate), Cuba, Algeria, Nicaragua, Belgium and India. On 10th October 1985 he was nominated pro-Nuncio to Burundi. From 1991 he was nominated Nuncio to Indonesia.
Solemn Entry into the Holy Sepulcher
by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Msgr. Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Nuncio to Israel
On Saturday 18th July 1998, at 11.00am (local time) His Excellency made his solemn entry into Jerusalem. The franciscans left St. Saviour and went to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem where they accompanied the new Apostolic Delegate and the Latin Patriarch to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, at the door of the Christian Shrine, he was welcomed by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Giovanni Battistelli, who welcomed him with a speach (see further down). All the gathering proceeded to the Tomb of Jesus singing together the Te Deum after which the Latin Patriarch welcomed him on behalf of the local church. The ceremony ended by a blessing given by the Apostolic Delegate. Present for the ceremony where the consuls of France, Spain, Italy and Belgium together with representatives from the three communities of the Holy Sepulchre and a numerous gathering of faithful and pilgrims.
Greetings by His Paternity, the Custos
Most Reverend Excellency,
In this Holy Sanctuary which recalls the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and which is held most dearly by all christians, I welcome you in the name of all the religious and faithful, who throughout the centuries have come to visit, love and protect it even to giving up their lives, in order to preserve the historical memory of His presence; of God made man out of Love.
We welcome you as one sent by the Vicar of Christ, John Paul II, who loves these sanctuaries and desires so much to be able to visit them again: an event that would cause us all great joy.
We are here to care for and keep alive this and other sanctuaries of our redemption; to show the places where He had walked to whoever is seeking to love Him even more, like the Magdalene; to whoever is seeking to increase his faith, like Thomas; to whoever, coming as a simple tourist, finds Him and believes.
The archeological work, the theological studies and the service in the sanctuaries all serve this purpose: to make whoever visits the Land encounter Jesus.
You have desired as one of your first acts as Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem to make this Solemn Entry into the Holy Sepulcher in order to present your credentials at the source of our faith.
The words of Jesus to the Magdalene Go and tell my brothers I go before them to Galilee - are for all of us a guarantee of His Love and His Presence. Christ goes before us always: Your Excellency has come, but He awaits you.
We are sure that you will be a keen observer of the diverse realities of this Holy Land. And you will advise us, so that our apostolic, ecumenical, educational and social ministries become a living witness to the evangelical message.
The Great Jubilee of 2000 is indeed for all humanity a moment of reconciliation between God and them. With your help, we will work in such a way that the holy places will announce their message and give to all the possibility to welcome it: the yes of Mary in Nazareth, the nuptial love in Cana, the Bread of Life in Caparnaum, the Lord, teach us to pray on the Mount of Olives, the look Jesus gave to Peter after the denial....so many are the places where people can receive His message of Life.
Your Excellency, welcome to the House of God among us; welcome to His land, to the Empty Tomb of the Resurrected One.
We pray that your mission in this much tried land, would calm and give courage to our faithful as well as to pilgrims so that in everyone would resound the greeting Jesus gave his frightened Apostles in the Last Supper Room: Peace be with you.
And from the bottom of our hearts, I, united with my brothers and all present here, address to you the same greeting which St. Francis recommended his brothers whenever they went about the world: Peace and Goodness!
Created / Updated Sunday, 19 July, 1998 at 15:31:35
by John Abela ofm for the Maltese Province and the Custody of the Holy Land
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