|Image from Custodia Terræ Sanctæ|
The General Definitory of the Friars Minor, with the consent of the Holy See, elected Fr. Francesco PATTON as the new Custos. He will succeed Fr. Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, who held the position for twelve years.
Election process: http://www.custodia.org/default.asp?id=779&id_n=30235&Pagina=1
The role of the Custos in the Holy Land and the Middle East
The figure of the Custos is especially significant for the Church in the Holy Land and the Middle East.
In the Holy Land, the Custos, in addition to leading the Custody of the Holy Land, which is the primary mission of the Order of Friars Minor, is also part of the Assembly of Catholic Priests of the Holy Land, which brings together all of the Catholic bishops and episcopal vicars of the Latin and Eastern rites.
The Franciscans have been present in the Holy Land since the XIII century. It is the Custos who, on behalf of the Catholic Church cares for and guards most of the places of Jesus' Incarnation. He also takes care of the “living stones” of the Holy Land, in other words, the Catholic community who is present in this land, and the Custos is the point of contact for Greek-Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac and Ethiopian churches(.)
Fr. Francesco Patton was born in Vigo Meano in the diocese of Trent on December 23rd, 1963. He belongs to the Franciscan Province of St. Anthony in Italy. He is fluent in English and Spanish, besides his native Italian.
He made his first religious profession on September 7th 1983 and his solemn profession on October 4th, 1986; then was ordained to the ministerial priesthood on May 26th, 1989. In 1993 he earned a Licentiate in Communication Sciences at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome.Source material from: