A telegram was sent on behalf of the Pope by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land.
The Pope assured the Franciscan of his prayers so that “this important meeting, faithful to the spirit” of St. Francis, “may respond with renewed apostolic zeal to the new challenges of our times.”
The meeting began on Sunday in Bethlehem and gathered 47 religious, representatives of all the Franciscans of the Custody. The theme is “Lord, What Do You Want Me to Do in the Holy Land?”
The telegram expressed the Holy Father’s hopes that “this meeting will serve to renew a generous pastoral commitment in the holy places and proclaim the Gospel evermore effectively to the faithful of the local communities as well as to pilgrims,” Vatican Radio reported.