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Holy Land Custos to Visit CNEWA

30 Sep 2004 – NEW YORK – The newly appointed Custos of the Holy Land, the Very Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., will meet with members of the press at the New York office of Catholic Near East Welfare Association on Wednesday, 6 October, at 11:30 a.m.

Father Pizzaballa leads the efforts of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which is charged with the care of pilgrims in the Holy Land and of the many holy sites there. The Franciscans are also involved with caring for the region’s Christian minority.

Father Pizzaballa, who became custos in May, serves as President of the Commission for Missionary Evangelization, Chairman of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land and is a member of the Committee for Judaism and Islam of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Pierbattista Pizzaballa was born in Bergamo in 1965 and ordained in 1990. He earned a licentiate in theology with biblical specialization at the Franciscan Studium Biblicum in Jerusalem, where he is preparing his doctorate. He studied modern Hebrew and took courses in Semitic languages at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Custody of the Holy Land works closely with CNEWA’s regional office for Palestine and Israel. Founded by Pope Pius VI in 1926, CNEWA is a special agency of the Vatican providing support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Projects include needy child, seminarian and novice sponsorship programs; village redevelopment; health care and education; and interfaith dialogue.

For more information, contact Michael J. LaCivita, Assistant Secretary for Communications, at