The Catholic churches in Jordan will celebrate the 23rd annual and national Day of Pilgrimage to the Baptism Site of Lord Jesus Christ on Friday, January 13, 2023.
Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader has said in a statement issued on January 8, that Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa will preside at the solemn Holy Mass in the Catholic Church, namely the Church of the Baptism of Lord Jesus Christ. In attendance will be Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop Jamal Daibes, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan Msgr. Mauro Lalli, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Jordan Joseph Jbara, as well as heads and representatives of Catholic, Chaldean, Syriac, Armenian, and Maronite Churches.
Fr. Bader said that this celebration is held two months after the official announcement of the project to develop the lands adjacent to the Baptism Site, patronized by His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, which received wide media coverage due to the presence of invited international personnel. He said that this year’s celebration will take place in this church for the repose of the soul of former Pope Benedict XVI who had laid the foundation stone of this church on May 10, 2009, with the participation of His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. Pope Francis had earlier visited this church in its early stages of construction and prayed there on May 24, 2014.
According to Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, a large number of members of congregations from all Catholic churches will participate in this solemn Holy Mass, given that this celebration is the first that takes place after the end of the Corona epidemic. Last year, the attendance was confined to 1,000 people, while the previous year it was limited to 250 people. But this year, the Church will restore the status quo ante by welcoming as many believers as possible in cooperation with the Jordan Tourism Board which provides a number of buses to transport believers to and from the churches in various Jordanian villages and cities in coordination with the security authorities, which is the watchful eye on the safety and faith of citizens.
The celebration will begin with musical bands playing music, while the CCSM will hold the annual press conference in the presence of His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa as well as representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and the Baptism Site Commission. As has been the case every year, the Holy Mass will be attended by a number of official figures, including members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, in addition to ambassadors of foreign and Arab countries. Choir bands from various Catholic churches will take part in the Holy Mass by singing hymns, while the Holy Mass will be transmitted live on abouna.org website and social media networking sites.
It is also hoped that the Catholic Baptist Church will be inaugurated in the coming months, as some construction work is currently underway. The new monastery adjacent to the church is run by priests from the Congregation of the Incarnate Word who have been residing at this site for several months.
By Munir Bayouk | en.abouna.org