Prot. N. (1) 681/2023
Dear brothers in the Lord,
The Holy Land, and Jerusalem in particular, has always been a welcoming place for priests, men and women religious who - like many other pilgrims - remain in the territory of the diocese for periods of prayer, retreat, study, sabbatical periods, to re-cover physical and spiritual energies, and to rediscover their religious and priestly spirit.
It is a valuable service, which the Mother Church of Jerusalem is pleased to offer especially to the many priests around the world. The presence of various religious and guest houses, the biblical and theological institutes, and the various centers of continuing formation truly constitute a valuable service that our Church offers to many. For this I am particularly grateful, and this is an opportunity to thank those who provide service in this field.
It is necessary, therefore, that in this most valuable service, which I wish to continue, rules be adopted in our diocese as well, which are in place now all over the world, and which I ask you to accept in an ecclesial spirit of cooperation.
1. From today’s date, diocesan or religious priests who do not have their own Religious Ordinary in the territory of the diocese of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and who for any reason will remain in the diocese for more than three months, wherever they will be guests, must ask the Patriarch, as Ordinary of the Place, for permission to exercise the ministry.
2. The priests who are already in the territory of the diocese, but do not have the necessary authorization in written form, must request it by September 20 of the current year.
3. To obtain said permission, they must submit a letter from their Bishop or Ordinary stating that they are sent to live in the Holy Land with their consent, and that they have no censure against them. The letter of the Ordinary must be addressed to the Patriarch.
4. A letter from the host or director of the local house is not sufficient. A letter from the Bishop or, for a religious, from his Ordinary is required.
5. Special cases, before being accepted, will have to obtain the Patriarch's consent.
6. The study centers that normally receive student priests also must obtain a letter addressed to the Patriarch with the same conditions for each resident, to be communicated to the Chancellery.
7. Requests and related consents may be given only in writing. Authorizations previously given orally are no longer valid.
I realize that this may appear to be an extra bureaucratic step, but I am sure that everyone understands that today it is increasingly necessary to act with transparency and cooperation, in order to avoid problems of any kind and so that the encounter with a priest may be always, especially in the Holy City, a moment of grace and comfort.
With the hope that these rules, dictated by pastoral prudence, will help the spirit of fraternal welcome that characterizes our diocese.