Patriarch to the Holy Father in Amman (May 24, 2014)

Holy Father, great is our joy that comes from encountering in you the true Person, Jesus Christ. Today in our midst are descendants of the early Christians, who, as it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, were gathered together at Pentecost with believers from around the world.

Today, Jordan, its government and people proudly celebrate Independence Day, led by their wise King, His Majesty Abdullah. Together with many educational and social institutions, they welcome you who comes to confirm the faith of your brothers, pastors and faithful.

Your Holiness, during your visit, you will realize the numerous challenges facing the Church of Jerusalem. Jordan belongs to this Diocese, representing the largest part in the number of families, institutions, priests, seminarians and there is no shortage of challenges.

The Holy Land already knows and lives with too many divisions. The local Catholic Church, particularly the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is making huge efforts towards unity among its faithful, between Churches and within the entire population. We are a small Church, but a Church that listens, that accompanies and that collaborates according to its modest strengths along the path to conversion, because in reality we are “permanently in a state of conversion” (cf. Evangilii Gaudium, 25).

Strong was the faith of our patron saint here in Jordan, St. John the Baptist, who was martyred a few miles from here. Solid was this faith that gave him the courage to point a finger and say to the great of this world, “you have no right” to take such action or to promote such unjust law.

Jordan, as well as the Church in Jordan, is small, with a small land area and a small population, poor in resources, a poverty that existed from the time St. Paul . But it is rich in human terms, full of good sense, rich in priestly and religious vocations, exemplary in the hospitality it extends to strangers , the oppressed, the refugees and those seeking employment.

Together with the Sisters of the Rosary, the only indigenous religious foundation working in the education sector throughout the Arab world, we hope and pray that His Holiness may soon announce the canonization of their foundress: Blessed Marie Alphonsine Ghattas.

The Church in Jordan, together with all its members: Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Arab refugees throughout the Middle East and Asia, see in Your Holiness, a Father who loves and listens, the Father who shares with us our daily crosses, including migration to the Arab world or to North America. There is not a family that does not have a child living abroad. The emigration of young people who are best educated and most competent Jordanians is a true human hemorrhage.

You see before you, are some of our faithful, young children, who wish to receive their First Holy Communion and the Apostolic Blessing.

Here in Jordan, Christians and Muslims live in harmony, and we recognize in you Holy Father, the Lord who walked this land doing good.

In you, we also see the beautiful figure of St. John the Baptist, the patron of Jordan. You are now the Baptist of our age and time, preparing the way of the Saviour and calling for the conversion of hearts, raising his voice against injustice and all forms of violence.

Most Holy Father, we are in such need of your voice, so serene and calm, yet strong and courageous. We give you thanks for being this voice that defends the poor and the oppressed.

In this Eucharist , we pray for peace and for your beloved person.