Holy Land: Nuncio Lazzarotto leaves, “hope was sown, ground is good. Good farmers are needed”

Mons.Giuseppe Lazzarotto

“These are such strong experiences, feelings and memories that they will remain engraved on my heart for ever. It is a unique world that I will always carry with me. I hope that my five years of service as the representative of the Holy Father in the Holy Land were a small contribution to dialogue, mutual understanding and hope. This is what I have always tried to do: to sow hope. I hope the seed will now grow and bear much fruit. The ground is there and it is good. It only needs good farmers”. Interviewed by SIR news agency, Mgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto sums up in these words the five years (2012-2017) he spent in the Holy Land as Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. On Sunday, 28 August, the Archbishop from Carpané di San Nazario, Diocese of Padua, celebrated his farewell Mass at the church of the “Notre Dame Centre” in Jerusalem. Many priests, religious and faithful bid him farewell, including Mgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mgr. Giacinto B. Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Palestine, and Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, who concelebrated with him. Also attending the celebration were the members of the Syrian Catholic Church, the Maronite Church and the Melkite Greek Church of Jerusalem. In his homily, Mgr. Lazzarotto insisted on his desire – reiterated in his letter to the whole Church in the Holy Land – to “always be united in prayer, which draws us closer to one another despite the kilometres dividing us. I had the great privilege to spend the last five years of my 46 years of diplomatic service with the Holy See here. I cherish in my heart the unforgettable memory of many moments of joy and hope, but also of apprehension and concern that I have shared with you in a number of ways”. Times of “reflection and prayer” now await Mgr. Lazzarotto who has been “relieved from so many daily tasks”. His successor, by contrast, will have to be ready to take on different duties. One of the most crucial dossiers is the finalisation of the Fundamental Agreement with Israel. “With my predecessor (editor’s note: Mgr. Antonio Franco) and aides, we have worked a lot – the Nuncio told SIR news agency -. The Agreement is there. It is good wine that is about to de delivered. We need to deliver it well”. Mgr. Marco Formica will be in charge of the affairs (ad interim) until the appointment of the new nuncio.