By Pietro Gennarini

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2012 (

Patriarch Twal, who was ordained in Rome, was the first Arab to serve as bishop of an African country, Tunisia. He was named Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

In his intervention, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem stated that it is through reviving the faith that the place which has been the cauldron of so many wars may turn into a melting pot. While faith has erected the wall separating people for so long, it must now become the channel through which they may meet.

Given the recent hardships, where the holy sites have been desecrated or assaulted, the Patriarch stressed the need for the local faithful to put aside the “negative mentality that regards faith as belonging to a sociological faction leading to militancy and violence”. He also stressed visits to holy sites on the trail of the Bible by pilgrims, allows them to become a “true testimony of faith and communion with our Church of the Calvary”.  By encountering the person of Jesus Christ, the believers of weak faith may be strengthened and those in whom faith has died may experience its rebirth.

The Arab prelate stated that such pilgrimages will be an enormous help to the community of the Holy Land, who has closed in on itself in fear so as to defend its rights and reduced faith to a “hereditary fact”, instead of a personal and committed one.

“It is not about survival, but about breaking through and communicating” said the bishop.

The Latin Patriarch strongly invited his brothers in the episcopate along with their flocks to visit the Holy Land and asked for their prayers and solidarity.