Baptismal Site Pilgrimage – “Where God met Man”
JORDAN – Baptismal Site: On Friday, January 16, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Patriarch Fouad Twal, presided over the traditional pilgrimage that brought faithful from Jordan to the site where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist
It is the 15th running pilgrimage to this Holy Place which was opened in the Jubilee Year 2000. For this occasion, a High Mass was celebrated by His Beatitude Fouad Twal and a number of priests concelebrated with him. The faithful came in large numbers to the place where the Divine nature of Jesus was manifested. An estimate of 4,000 to 5,000 faithful came including many Iraqi Christians living in Jordan after having fled from their towns and villages seized by ISIS.
This year’s celebration was postponed for one week from the scheduled event because of the snowstorm. But God is good, He loves his children, and the sun shone brightly over the Baptismal Site, warming up hearts of the faithful.
The Patriarch’s motorcade started from the Vicariate in Amman to the Baptismal Site. He was welcomed by the Minister of Tourism in Jordan, Mr Nidal Kaamin, and by a large group of faithful and the media.
The Patriarch his homily reminded everyone “that here, on the banks of the river Jordan, Christ was baptized. Here pilgrims came in large numbers for the past centuries. It is here that God met Man through the Baptism of Christ. Here John the Baptist met the Saviour, and the crowds of baptized people met John, who considered himself small in the face of the greatness of God (…)”
The Patriarch further said, that “There are still open wounds in our portion of the Middle East, wounds of our Iraqi brothers and sisters who came as refugees to Jordan last year. They fled their country to remain faithful to their faith and to their Baptism.”
The Patriarch then spoke about the Year of Consecrated Life, and urged the faithful to pray for consecrated men and women and for the family. The second part of the Synod on the Family will be held in October this year, in Rome.
In Amman, demonstrators marched on the streets towards the French Embassy to protest against the caricatures recently published in the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, representing Mohamed, prophet of Islam. The Patriarch took this opportunity to confirm the position of the Church in terms of freedom of expression and its limits, in the presence of many journalists who came to the Baptismal site. If freedom of expression is a basic right, almost a duty to contribute to the public welfare, it is important to respect the creeds of others, remote from the language of insults.
On this day, the People of God renewed their Baptism, as they have become children of God, following the example of Christ, through adoption. The faithful went home in testimony of this glorious mystery in their ordinary lives: mystery of the love of God to all Mankind.