USA – On Friday, May 5, 2017, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa met with Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and Vice President of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, Vice Governor General Patrick Powers of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and Knights and Ladies of the USA Western Lieutenancy.
On May 6, 2017, the Archbishop met with the Arab Catholic community in Redlands and conferred the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation to the children in Pomona. On May 7, 2017, Archbishop Pizzaballa met with the Arab Catholic community in San Francisco. He conferred the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation to the children at St. Thomas More Church. in the presence numerous faithful and some Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher of the Northwestern Lieutenancy.
On Sunday, May 7, 2017, the Arab Catholic Community in San Francisco celebrated its 25th anniversary in the presence of Archbishop Pizzaballa.
During the ceremony, the Apostolic Administrator awarded the Gold Medal of the Holy Sepulcher to Msgr. Labib Kopti, in appreciation for his long years of service to the Arab Catholic communities in California and the founding of two Arabic-speaking Catholic communities: one at St. Joseph Parish in Pomona (southern California), and St. Thomas More Parish in San Francisco.
All who have served the community during its early years of foundation were also recognized with gratitude. The ceremony was attended by Fr. Bernard Poggi, Fr. Ala’ Alamat and Fr. Rick van de Water, all serving the Arabic-speaking communities in California.