The National Association of Directors of Christian Pilgrimage in France (Association Nationale des Directeurs de Pèlerinages/ANNNP) has announced that their next meeting will be held in Jordan in November 2023 marking its 75th anniversary. The announcement was made on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 in the French city of Paray le Monial in the presence of more than 180 guides and directors of pilgrimage trips from France to countries around the world, and from there to Jordan as well.
This achievement came true following extensive effort exerted by the Jordanian delegation, which is participating for the 4th time in a row in this important annual event. The participants in this meeting included Director of the Baptism Site Authority Engineer Rustom Mkhjian; Ms. Samia Nustas, who represented the Embassy of Jordan in Paris; Director of Religious Tourism in the Jordan Tourism Board Amer Twal; and Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan.
The issuance of this decision was received with warm applause, whereby Mr. Twal expressed his joy and happiness at this event which will come to fruition in religious tourism in the Kingdom. He said: The ANNNP operates trips for the purpose of attaining Christian pilgrimage in several religious sites around the world, and now they are in the process of launching pilgrimage trips to Jordan, the land of holiness, to visit religious archaeological sites and to live a unique experience with the local community.
Mr. Twal stressed that the Jordan Tourism Board will facilitate pilgrimage trips, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Royal Jordanian Airlines, and all those related to facilitating trips by 180 pilgrimage directors who will encourage all their offices to conduct pilgrimage trips to Jordan effective next year.
Engineer Rustom Mkhjian said following this great announcement that this step followed efforts by a distinguished team, as it will be held for the first time in the Kingdom specifically in the Conference Center at the Baptism Site of Lord Jesus Christ. He pointed out that this is a significant achievement for religious tourism in Jordan, whereby pilgrimage trips to sites related to Christian religious events are expected to start in March 2023.
Ms. Samia Nustas expressed, on behalf of the Jordanian Embassy, her readiness to cooperate in organizing this event next year. She said: “This announcement followed three years of contact with the Jordan Tourism Board in cooperation with the Baptism Site Authority, the CCSM, and the Jordanian Embassy.
Fr. Bader welcomed this great event–on behalf of the Churches in Jordan, as religious leaders and the believing people–which will include several prayer meetings with Christians in addition to meetings with Muslim leaders, the Ministry of Awqaf, the Department of Ifta’, and the chief justice as a cogent testimony to the common living between Muslims and Christians. Fr. Bader added that choosing Jordan to be the venue for the convening of a friendly and foreign association specialized in religious tourism from France on its 75th anniversary provides signals of the world’s appreciation to Jordan, a country which represents an integral part of the Holy Land. Furthermore, it shows the fruition of the efforts played by the tourism authorities in cooperation with the Jordanian Churches, which are also making unstinting efforts to promote visits to Jordan, the holy land of baptism.
During the meeting, a number of videos prepared by the Jordan Tourism Board were screened about Jordan in general and the Baptism Site in particular.
By Munir Bayouk/ en.abouna.org