Mass for Pope Francis: Anticipation of Easter Joy | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Mass for Pope Francis: Anticipation of Easter Joy

The tradition of celebrating mass on the occasion of the election of a new pope is a double joy this year. The Franciscans of the Custody, the Custos, the President of the Holy Sepulcher(1), and the entire Discretorium, who invited the Apostolic Delegate, the Latin Patriarch, all the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, the Consuls General of the four countries known as the "Protectors of the Holy Places" to the Holy Sepulcher along with, as an exception this time, the Ambassadors of Argentina to Israel and Palestine, as well as the faithful of Jerusalem who desired to assist at the mass, savored with particular joy the name choice of the new pope in reference to their Father Founder, Francis of Assisi.

Also invited to join the celebration, and present in person or through their chosen representatives, were the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, and representatives of the local civil authorities.

The text chosen for the mass, which was celebrated by Patriarch Fouad Twal, were from the Easter liturgy. The Custos of the Holy Land said in his homily:

We can, indeed, say that the entire Church justly anticipates – if we can say so – the feast of Easter, with this sense of exuberant joy that characterises us all. We rejoice because we have a new Bishop of Rome, a new Successor of Saint Peter, a disciple of Ignatius of Loyola, who has also wanted to become, in a certain way, a son of Saint Francis of Assisi. The simplicity with which the new Pope has presented himself to us has won over the hearts of each and every one of us.
In fact, both before and after the mass, no one could give high enough praise to the simplicity and contagious joy Pope Francis demonstrated in each of his addresses. Among the Franciscans, all of whom rejoice at his name, the friars from Latin America received the new Pope with particular joy: "the first Spanish-speaking pope, a pope who can carry the hopes of an entire continent." According to Fra Ulysses: "In Argentina we have a vibrant, living ecclesiastical reality. As Archbishop, Pope Francis gave particular attention to evangelization. What he did in the archdiocese can be an example throughout the world. He invested in the poor, both in the name of the diocese and personally, and we see that he wants to continue in this way." Indeed, this is a pastoral care that that particularly touches the Franciscan heart.
After singing the Te Deum, the Thanksgiving hymn par excellence, and before the benediction, the new Nuncio for Israel and Apostolic Delegate for Palestine and Jerusalem, Monsignor Giuseppe Lazzarotto spoke of the gift that God wanted to give the church in the person of Pope Francis. "It is a time of great joy. His invitation to prayer is an appeal to the responsibility of each person, not only to support him in his ministry, but to take personal responsibility in the face of the needs of the church, and to move forward together as joyful and generous witnesses of the resuscitated Lord," His Excellency Monsignor Lazzarotto also expressed his "hope to see the Pope visit the Holy Land where Peter received the mandate of confirming his brothers in the faith. And while we await this moment, we should continue to support Pope Francis with our affection, our love and also with our prayer so that this great innovation that the Holy Spirit gave to the church is concretized and becomes real, because the Holy Spirit is a regenerative force and always creates new things.
Tomorrow, the friars of the Custody who are able will once again unite themselves in prayer with Rome as Pope Francis celebrates the "Commencement Mass for the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome", with the Minister General of the Jesuits and Minister General of the Friars Minor (Franciscans) at his side.

1. "President" of the Holy Sepulcher is the official term for the "guardian" or even more commonly, "superior" of the Franciscan fraternity of the Holy Sepulcher.