Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem: Father Rafic Nahra Appointed Auxiliary Bishop

Father Rafic Nahra was appointed by Pope Francis as auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, this Friday, March 11, 2022, announces the Holy See.

Ordained a priest in 1992 for the diocese of Paris, he was until now Patriarchal Vicar for Israel within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Father Rafic Nahra was born on January 27, 1959. Of Lebanese origin, he graduated from the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées. He worked as an engineer for a few years before entering the seminary of Paris, indicates this biography released by the diocese of Paris.

Sent to Rome for his studies, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in Sacred Scripture from the Biblical Institute. Priest of the diocese of Paris since 1992, he taught Sacred Scripture at the Cathedral School (5th) and at the Faculty of Notre-Dame (5th), while carrying out a pastoral activity, first as spiritual director at the Maison Saint-Augustin (12th), then as vicar in the parish of Saint-François de Molitor (16th), finally as vicar in the parish of Saint-Augustin (8th).

In 1993, he was deeply marked by a study trip to the Holy Land and made himself available to work for a better understanding between Christians and Jews. In 2004, he began studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. There he obtained a Master’s degree in Jewish thought, then a doctorate in Judeo-Arabic literature obtained in 2016. During this period, he regularly returned to Paris to give lectures at the Notre-Dame Faculty. Between 2008 and 2011, he headed the «Judaism and Christianity» research department at the Collège des Bernardins (5th).

In Jerusalem, while serving with Palestinian children or at the Maronite parish in Jerusalem, he bonded with the Hebrew-speaking community.

In 2016, he was made available to the Latin Patriarchate. He was appointed Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in 2017, a responsibility to which was added in 2018 the coordination of the pastoral care of migrants. Since 2021, he has been Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, in Nazareth.

Archbishop Rafic Nahra defines himself as «a man drawn to borders, concerned with building bridges between individuals, communities, peoples, to move from reciprocal ignorance, even contempt, to recognition and mutual esteem».

At the same time, Father Jamal Khader was appointed by Pope Francis as auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, this Friday, March 11, 2022, announces the Holy See. A pastor in favor of dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Father Jamal Khader was born on July 7, 1964 in Zababdeh, Palestine, says the Latin Patriarchate. After joining the Minor Seminary of the Latin Patriarchate, he completed his studies at the Major Seminary and was ordained a priest by His Beatitude Patriarch Michael Sabbah. He then served as vicar of the parish of Amman before being appointed parish priest of Al Wahadneh, where he served for four years.

In 1994, in order to complete his studies in dogmatic theology, he was sent to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained the title of Doctor of Theology. His thesis was on the dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

He then taught at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary and held various positions at Bethlehem University; in 2008 he was appointed Dean of the College of Arts. A year later, Father Jamal was invested as a Canon of the Holy Sepulcher by His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal.

From 2013 to 2017, he was rector of the Patriarchal Seminary of Beit Jala. In 2017 he was appointed Parish Priest of Ramallah and in 2019 he was appointed Director of Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine.

On August 15, 2021, Bishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, appointed Father Jamal Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan.

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