AMMAN – In the north of Amman, the parish of St. Paul in Jubeiha is about to inaugurate the first part of its new Church under construction. It is a great joy for the parishioners, after 35 years of waiting. The Grand Magisterium of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and the German Lieutenancy will support this ambitious project.
“Thirty years ago, there were only trees”
Just north of Amman, on the outskirts of the city, is a large building that houses the school and the parish of St. Paul in Jubeiha. This neighborhood of the Jordanian capital is slowly expanding to the countryside. . Father Tarek, the parish priest, explains: “Thirty years ago, there were only trees. Then Father Labib arrived and began to pray, initially in various houses and then in this building built in 1991 “. Little by little, the Christian community of Saint Paul in Jubeiha settled.
In 1993, Father Labib completed the work of a mixed school; an institution which today welcomes 700 students, both Christians and Muslims. In the same building, on the second floor, Mass was celebrated and the number of people attending increased. “Many families in the surrounding villages moved to Jubeiha, a somewhat less populated area. While there were 1,200 families five years ago, there are now 1,500, or nearly 7,500 faithful. The density of the parish is also explained by its diversity: Orthodox, Latin and Syriac attend the same Mass on Sunday.
A church to welcome this large community
Over time, the second floor of the existing building was getting small for the growing population. In 2013, with the help of a local benefactor, the parishioners embarked on this project to build a new church across from the existing building. Unfortunately, the work stopped in September 2014 for lack of funds.
“There was no progress for two years. During this time, we continued to regularly celebrate Masses in the unfinished Church. We prayed so much for the work to resume, “explains Father Tarek. In the spring of 2016, the faithful organized everything to celebrate Easter in the structure under construction; a landmark event for the entire community, which was not without risks, the bad weather has not spared the site.”
In order to put an end to this temporary situation, Fr. Tarek and other parishioners were mobilized to raise the funds. A campaign which made it possible to raise nearly 220 000 JDs, a sum enough to initiate the resumption of works but not to complete them. In order to finish this ambitious project, new funds are necessary. On Thursday 27 April Dr. Brümmer and Cornelia Kimberger, respectively Lieutenant and Head of the Holy Land Commission of the German Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre came on a visit, a preliminary step to contribute their help and support.
To end this temporary situation, Father Tarek and all the parishioners campaigned to raise funds and raised nearly 220,000 JD, an amount sufficient for the resumption of work but not enough to complete this ambitious project, new funds are needed. Also, on Thursday, April 27, Dr Brümmer, lieutenant of the German Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and Cornelia Kimberger, president of the Holy Land Commission of the German Lieutenancy visited the site and offered support.
Inauguration of the ground floor planned for this summer
Thanks to the funds raised by the parishioners, construction work resumed in October 2015. “We are so happy. “says Father Tarek. “We have waited 35 years for a Church… “In front of the existing building, construction is in full swing and the concrete mixer is operating at full speed. The Church building will have two which will include a huge parish hall on the ground floor and a spacious Church on the first floor. Father Tarek, is confident, and would like to inaugurate the lower floor this summer. To achieve this, the Latin Patriarchate projects office is seeking sufficient funds to complete the first floor and procure the liturgical materials
TAYBEH – To meet the need for supervised and animated activities for young people and children of the village, a social center will open shortly in the parish of Taybeh.
At the initiative of Father Johnny Abu Khalil, Latin priest of this town, a social center for young people aged 8 to 25 will soon open. In the months that followed his arrival in this last entirely Christian town in Palestine, Father Johnny discovered that there were very few activities available to the youth after school. They spend their time on the streets, smoking and drinking in cars until late at night. The study carried out jointly by the parish priest and the Latin Patriarchate showed that this lack of social and entertainment centers encourage this situation. It should also be noted that the youth face obvious economic problems in Palestine: few employment opportunities, confinement in the territory with very limited financial resources.
So, this Center aims to recreate social links among young people and to give hope for the future. New facilities will be made available in the buildings: a recreation room, a library, a parish garden and a coffee shop. A team will welcome the youth and provide daily activities in the center. Young people can invest their time and offer their services with remuneration, in operating the coffee shop which will be open to everyone. Families will also be welcome in the Center to enjoy the garden in a friendly and healthy atmosphere, a way to ease tensions and promote peace, conducive to the professional integration of the young people.
This project is linked to the Latin Patriarchate and its Project Development Office is seeking financial support for the completion of the new Center where young people can grow and develop in a serene setting. Families can as well experience some inner peace in this place of encounter
NAOUR – In July, Naour’s school will inaugurate its second floor, to accommodate two new classes for the next school year that starts in September, with the support of the Grand Magisterium of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
The school of Naour, established in 1954 by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, will inaugurate a new floor in July 2017, which for the coming school year will open two additional classes, the “ninth” and the “tenth “grades (15-year-olds and 16-year-olds). At present, the school has eight classrooms, a room for religious instruction (Christian and Muslim) and a room equipped with computers, a laboratory and a modest library. The construction work began on March 27 and is progressing well while the entire school has been looking forward with great anticipation for more than ten years, to the opening of two new classes that will welcome new students.
The Naour school now has 224 students from 6 to 15 years old, fourteen teachers, both Christian and Muslim. The second floor will also consist of three classrooms, a teachers’ room, a toilet, a physics and science laboratory and a much more equipped library.
The purpose of this project is to meet the growing demand from families. This Christian school operated by the Patriarchate is very popular: it welcomes children regardless of religion or social class and ensures a quality education without requiring high tuition fees. In Naour, which has a population of 50,000 people traditionally living in agriculture and commerce and with a high unemployment rate, the school expansion project is of great importance to families.
The school will soon hire new teachers in order to continue to provide quality education to the growing number of young people and to prepare them for their future education in college and university.
Not far from the school in another building is a kindergarten and the Parish Church of the Sacred Heart, with Father Rifat Bader as parish priest. Since 2015, the Church also has a sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, the first in Jordan, which is the site of numerous and frequent pilgrimages.