The Council of Heads of Catholic Churches in the Holy Land held a massive festival on May 8 at the Rosary Sisters College marking the upcoming canonization of St. Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas and St. Mary of Jesus Crucified in the Vatican on May 17.
Present at the festival were Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop Maroun Lahham, Regional Director of the Rosary Sisters Sister Madeline Dababneh, Director of the Monastery in Shmeisani Sister Michelin Ma’louf, several representatives of Churches and over 3,000 people from various parts of the Kingdom.
Addressing the large masses of people marking the festival, Bishop Maroun Lahham said: “For centuries, this piece of land has been holy, but never had it witnessed the canonization of two girls from this land before.”
Discussing the significance of sainthood, he added: “A saint is not someone who makes miracles or prophesizes, but rather the one who fulfills the wish of God, lives in God’s grace, and obeys the will of God all days.”
Noting that sainthood is not related to priesthood, he said that it is rather related to the sacrament of baptism, for every baptized person is called upon to become a saint through the type of life being led.
Bishop Lahham added: “All roads lead to sainthood. What is important is to live within the fear of God and within submission to His deity. The saint is not the person who does not sin but rather the one who admits sinning and repents. God does not seek saints but rather seeks sinners and makes saints out of them.”
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan concluded by saying: “We can start the procession towards sainthood by living a normal life. We are not lonely for holy Lord Jesus is with us. He knows us, forgives us, and has unlimited love for us.”
The festival, which was held under the title “Two Saints from Our Holy Land” with Fr. Rif’at Bader and Fr. Wisam Mansour acting as masters of ceremony, involved official processions for Bishop Lahham with the scouts musical band playing the Jordanian national anthem. Later, a procession for Saint Marie-Alphonsine arrived with girls wearing dresses of saints, holding a large rosary and a picture of the saint held high by Rosary Sisters.
As for Mary of Jesus Crucified, the procession arrived with images of doves representing the Holy Spirit as well as girls wearing the Order of the Carmelite uniform and carrying the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, since the saint worshipped the Holy Spirit and wrote hymns in this regard.
Following the arrival of the procession of Virgin Mary with the hymn of Ave Maria sung, the procession of the Holy Bible arrived and verses of the Holy Bible, related to Angel Gabriel telling Virgin Mary she would give birth to the Son of God, were read out. (Luke 26:1-38)
Two short films on the lives of St. Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas and St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, prepared by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Amman, were screened. Marian hymns and other hymns for the two saints were also sung. Furthermore, the rosary was also prayed.
Then, Bishop Lahham released a huge rosary made of huge balloons into the sky of Amman and gave his final blessings. Later, dances ensued in all parts of the Rosary College square with songs representing Arab cultural heritage played.
By Munir Bayouk