Today, May 27, 2010, Father William Shomali, who is originally from Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, was ordained new auxiliary bishop to Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal.


The ordination took place in Saint Catherine's Church, alongside the  Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Present were almost all the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land (from all the different Catholic rites), the Vatican ambassador, bishops from overseas, including the Archbishop of Tunis, Mgr. Maroun Laham, son of the Jerusalem diocese, the retired Cardinal Archbishop of Prague, three bishops from Italy, the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista, representatives of the Eastern, Orthodox and Protestant Churches, tens of priests, men and women religious and faithful from the parishes of the diocese, especially from Beit Sahour, Bethlehem and Beit Jala. Representatives of the Palestinian government, members of Parliament, ambassadors and consuls also participated in the celebration.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, celebrated the mass and alongside him were his two auxiliaries, Mgr. Boulos Marcuzzo, Vicar for Israel, and Mgr. Selim Sayegh, Vicar for Jordan. After reading out the letter of appointment from the Pope, the three bishops laid their hands on Father William and in their wake the other bishops present did the same. After the ordination, the new bishop joined the Patriarch in celebrating the mass. In his homily, the Patriarch stressed the years of faithful service that Mgr. Shomali has rendered to the Patriarch, as Chancellor and as rector of the diocesan seminary in Beit Jala. Likewise, the Patriarch mentioned the deceased parents of the new bishop who were faithful members of the Church, who contributed much to the life of the Church. The choir added a great deal to the magnificent and joyful ceremony.

After the ordination, those invited gathered at the "Intercontinental Hotel" in Bethlehem for a sumptuous meal. There the Patriarch gave a speech as did both the Palestinian Presidential Advisor, Saeb Erekat, and the Mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh.

Three priests from the Hebrew-speaking Catholic Vicariate participated in the celebration and expressed the good wishes of the Vicariate and the faithful: Father David, the Vicar, Father Paul from Beer Sheba (who is also the Vicar of the Chaldean Patriarch in Jerusalem) and Father Roman from Haifa.