“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

St. Susanna hosts visitors from ‘twin’ church in Jordan

Students from a Catholic school in Karak, Jordan are in town to spread a message of peace.

Students from a Catholic school in Karak, Jordan are in town to spread a message of peace.

As part of the Children’s Peace Program of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, the five students and their teacher traveled 24 hours to stay with families from the St. Susanna Catholic Church in Mason, which paid $15,000 to cover the costs.

The students will take classes with St. Susanna’s students and experience American life for the next six weeks.

It’s been an eye-opening experience, said Julie Heyob, principal at St. Susanna’s school.

"I think there are more similarities than differences," Heyob said. "Children are children wherever they go."

Laith Halaseh, 13, said at home they watch American TV shows like According to Jim and Malcolm in the Middle. Laith, who went golfing with his host family, said they also have sports like soccer, baseball and basketball.

"But we don’t have golfers," Laith said.

For years, St. Susanna has "twinned" with the Jordanians’ church, Our Lady of the Rosary, one of the only Christian churches in a largely Muslim country. Miriam Jacobs visited Karak last year. The St. Susanna parish member said she could have stayed a month longer, because of the warm hospitality she experienced. Life in Jordan does take some getting used to though. Jacobs said there’s a call to prayer early in the morning from the mosques, and there are check points when driving where armed gunmen ask who you are and where you are going.

Thomas Al-Madanat, 14, said the purpose of his group’s visit is to show how Christians and Muslims can live together in peace.

"We have peace in Jordan. It’s like an oasis where Muslims and Christians get along," Thomas said.

To those who choose to discriminate or cause harm to another because of differences in race, creed or culture, Thomas extends an olive branch.

"Try to show them that we are all human. No one has the right to take away what God made," Thomas said. "Violence is not the answer."

At the end of their stay, the group will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will make a presentation to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.

2007-10-08T00:00:00+00:00 October 8th, 2007|Categories: News|