Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, who reached the age limit of 75 last October, and has appointed former Custos of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, to succeed him.
Fr. Pizzaballa, 51, will receive episcopal ordination on Sept. 10 in the Italian City of Bergamo.
Born in Cologno al Serio, Italy, in 1965, Pierbattista Pizzaballa would later give his religious vows in 1989, and be ordained a priest in 1990. He holds a bachelors degree in theology from the Pontifical Antonianum University, Rome, and completed his studies in the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem.
After finishing his studies, Father Pizzaballa served as professor of biblical Hebrew at the Franciscan Faculty of Biblical and Archaeological Sciences of Jerusalem. He began his service in the Custody of the Holy Land in 1999 and in 2011 was appointed as Guardian of the Convent of Sts. Simeon and Anna in Jersualem.
He served as patriarchal vicar from 2003 to 2008. The General Definitorium appointed him as Custos of the Holy Land and Guardian of Mount Zion in 2004, a role he held until April this year.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem serves some 293,053 Catholics, and is served by some 464 priests, 9 permanent deacons, and 1,612 religious.
Also on Friday, the Pope appointed Bishop Basilio Athai as archbishop of Taunggyi, Myanmar. He was already serving as auxiliary of the archdiocese.
Taunggyi has a population of 1.75 million but with less than 7,000 Catholics. They are served by around 35 priests and 80 religious. Burma is a mostly Buddhist nation, but is high on the list of nations with the most troublesome record in regard to religious freedom. There are 16 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the nation.
Related: Report Card on Religious Freedom
Northern Mariana Islands
The Holy Father further appointed Fr. Ryan Jimenez as bishop of Chalan Kanoa, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
The Islands are under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific.
The diocese has a population of some 72,000 with about 43,000 Catholics. They are served by 15 priests and some 20 religious.
Ryan Jimenez was born in Dumaguete City, Philippines, in 1971, and was ordained a priest in 2003. He holds a Masters degree from St. Patrick’s Seminary and University, California, USA, and has served in a number of pastoral roles including parish vicar, special secretary to the bishop of Chalan Kanoa, rector of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral, president of the diocesan commission for the cultural heritage of the Church, and diocesan chancellor. He is currently apostolic administrator of the same diocese.
The Pope also appointed Msgr. Carmelo Zammit as bishop of Gibraltar
Carmelo Zammit was born in Gudja, Malta, in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1974. He holds a Bachelors Degree in philosophy, Italian and economics and a licentiate in theology from the University of Malta, and a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in Gibraltar, including judicial vicar, episcopal delegate for Catholic education, school chaplain and parish priest. Upon returning to Malta in 1998, he became chancellor of the archdiocese and judge in the ecclesiastical tribunal. He is currently canon of the Metropolitan Chapter and judicial vicar.
The Gibraltar diocese has some 24,000 Catholics, served by eight priests and two religious.
The Pope appointed Msgr. Anthony Randazzo and Fr. Richard James Umbers as auxiliaries of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, where they will join one other auxiliary in assisting Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
Randazzo was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1966, and was ordained a priest in 1991. He holds a Bachelors degree in theology from the Brisbane College of Theology and a licentiate in canon law and a diploma in law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He is currently judge of the National Appeal Tribunal of the Catholic Church of Australia and New Zealand, and assistant to the archbishop of Brisbane. In 2007 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.
Umbers was born in Otahuhu, New Zealand, in 1971, became a member of Opus Dei in 1990, and was ordained a priest in 2002. He holds a licentiate and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Navarra, Spain, and has served in a number of roles. He is currently chaplain of Warrane Collage of the University of New South Walkes, member of the Organising Committee of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, representative for Sydney at the St. John of God Hospitals, and representative of the archbishop in the presbyteral committee.
Sydney has a population of more than 2.6 million, with about 621,000 Catholics. They are served by some 445 priests, three permanent deacons and around 1,300 religious.
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Finally, the Pope appointed Francis Leo Delmonico, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and director of the New England Organ Bank, and Cédric Villani, professor of mathematics at the University of Lyon and director of the Institut Henri Poincaré (UPMC/CNRS), Paris, France, as ordinary members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.