Patriarch’s Pastoral Visit to Jordan
JORDAN- On Friday, August 24, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem visited Amman in Jordan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation and participate in the 3rd Festival in Madaba honoring St. John the Baptist.
“They cried and I cried.” With these words, Patriarch Fouad Twal, reflects with fondness on his pastoral visit to the sick of the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation (Amman). The parish priest, Father Bashir Bader, invited the Patriarch to the 50th anniversary celebration of the parish located in Al Jabal, Amman.
It was an opportunity for the Patriarch to see first-hand and appreciate the completion of the restoration of the church funded by the Latin Patriarchate. Father Bashir had proposed the restoration project 14 months ago, now it is a reality. (see current projects Patriarchate ).
The Patriarch presided at the Mass in celebration of the parish anniversary with Bishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, Bishop Selim Sayegh, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus and a number of priests concelebrating. Men and women religious were also present with members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, parishioners, families and friends of the parish.
In his homily, Patriarch Twal stressed the need to spread a message of peace, love, and brotherhood in a growing spiral of violence. He also spoke of the importance of the Apostolic Exhortation that Pope Benedict XVI will deliver during his visit to Lebanon on September 14-16, 2012.
At the end of the Mass, His Beatitude met the sick people visited by Father Bashir every first Friday each month with the young scouts. Accompanying him. “It is a wonderful initiative,” says the Patriarch. “It allows our young people to touch the humanity of man.” He also visited the different religious communities in the parish and joined a procession to Terra Santa College as he acknowledged the “good collaboration between the college and the parish.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness resounds in Madaba
For the third consecutive year, the Festival of John the Baptist was held in Madaba, with the Patriarch joining hundreds of participants gathered in the courtyard of the parish school. On Friday, August 26th, the Lebanese singer Nabiha Yasbeck shared her beautiful voice and musical renditions for the evening gathering. The Patriarch was “delighted ” to have been among the faithful of Madaba and see his family. He said that they were moved by “the prayerful atmosphere” that prevailed during the vigil.
The singing, procession, entertainment show – everything was meticulously organized for a common purpose, that people can feel and be touched by “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” the voice of John the Baptist proclaiming the truth without fear. The parish of Madaba is close to Machaerus, the place of martyrdom of St. John the Baptist and that it has a particular mission. For the first time this year, the parish organized a pilgrimage which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Tourism. The Patriarch was very pleased with this initiative.
Patriarch Fouad Twal sincerely thanked the parish priest, Father Wissam Mansour and everyone who participated in the preparation for this magnificent festival which was concluded after the final blessing under the gaze of the tall statue of St. John the Baptist, the Precursor.
Amélie de La Hougue