Fr. Bader calls for distinguished relations between Muslims and Christians

Fr. Bader calls for distinguished relations between Muslims and Christians

Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media Fr. Rif’at Bader addressed the ceremony marking the Christian-Islamic celebration of the Annunciation at Al Hussein Cultural Center, Ras Al ‘Ain in Amman on March 28, 2018. In his address, he said that this gathering is intended to endorse preaching the basic values, foremost of which is love for God and neighbors. He added that that the only allowed extremism is that relevant to love, brotherhood and altruism. He also hoped that the Feast of Annunciation would be marked as a national annual feast for all Jordanians.

Following is the text of the address:

Patron of the ceremony His Excellency Jamal Sarayrah,
In the name of the Latin Patriarchate, the heads of the Churches of Jordan, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media, His Excellency Chairman of the CCSM Advisory Council Dr. Raja'i Muasher and the committee members, and all senior state and religious officials: I welcome you on this dear Jordanian evening which sets the threshold for a new stage of dialogue, brotherhood and harmony in this benevolent country under the under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al Hussein, may God protect him. Yesterday, His Majesty the King met with the heads of the Churches of Jerusalem and assured them that “the focus is on Jerusalem as an issue of interfaith dialogue, human rights or security should not be at the expense of the just requirement that East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state.”

Following the birth of Lord Jesus, the archangel told the shepherds, “I bring you good news”. Today, on the Feast of Annunciation, Archangel Gabriel tells Virgin Mary, “Hail Mary, full of grace”. This is reported in Gospel of Luke and Surat Al-Imran. It is the propitious annunciation which revealed the Advent of Lord Jesus Christ who disseminated the message of love and peace. We badly need this joy and the divine greeting which incorporates the annunciation.

Patron of the ceremony, dear guests,

Since His Majesty King Abdullah assumed his constitutional responsibilities succeeding the late King Hussein, may his soul rest in peace, Christmas was marked as an official holiday for all citizens which was followed by an endorsement of an annual meeting of the Jordanian united family with His Majesty the King. This was followed by the meeting at the Baptism Site last year which also affirmed the Hashemite custodianship of the Site. As we jointly celebrate Christmas, we are here today to set the bases for a joint celebration of the Feast of Annunciation in order to have it added to the sublime Jordanian initiatives in the field of harmony. At the plenary session of the 71st United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2016, His Majesty King Abdullah said, “Jesus, whom we call 'Christ Messiah', is named 25 times. His mother Mary, called the 'best of all women in creation', is named 35 times. And there is a chapter in the Qur’an called ‘Maryam’.”

We have gathered here today as one family to say that we support the establishment of new and distinguished relations between Muslims and Christians not only in our holy country, but rather throughout the world. We have gathered here to quench our thirst from the Amman Message, from the blessed waters of the River Jordan, from the "holiness of Nazareth, the city of Annunciation, from the holiness and purity of noble Jerusalem as well as from non-abidance by unilateral and unfair resolutions. We have gathered here to approve of teaching our children in schools the grace of love, fraternity and respect. We have gathered to approve of comparison of religions within the framework of academic and moral courses in universities-- by neither creating conflicts with religions, nor abusing the beliefs of others, nor even to resorting to extremism and to violence. We have gathered here to endorse preaching the basic values foremost of which being love for God and neighbors. We have gathered here to say that the only allowed extremism is that relevant to love, brotherhood and altruism.

I reiterate my appreciation and welcome the deputy prime minister, the patron of the ceremony, their excellencies state and religious officials as well as representatives of the Iftaa Department, of the Chief Islamic Justice Department, of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, of the Jordan Armed Forces, of the Public Security Department, and of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament as well as of the Jordanian private and public institutions. I also welcome the fraternal Lebanese delegation including Mr. Naji Khoury and Skeikh Dr. Muhammad Naqqari, Mr. Munir Jaber and Ms. Hala Homsi. I also thank
all those who contributed to the first celebration marking the Feast of Annunciation including the Jordan Ahli Bank, Caritas Jordan, the Jordan Tourism Board, Karam Imseih Group, the Spring of Love Choir, the Falah Chanting Group, and Al Hussein Cultural Center. I also thank masters of ceremonies Mais Ayoub from Anjara and Jude Mubaideen from Karak as well as members of staff of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media.

Every time the youths and children of Jordan sing songs calling for brotherhood we foresee the propitious future of Jordan which is cemented by the Islamic-Christian brotherhood. I also thank the members of staff of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media who contributed to the success of this ceremony.

As we are on the threshold of celebrating Easter, we share with His Majesty King Abdullah his well wishes on the advent of Easter.

Marking the National Feast of Annunciation, we convey best wishes to Jordan, its King, people and friends of Jordan. It is hoped that it will be approved to have the Feast of Annunciation marked as a national annual feast for all Jordanians under the wise Hashemite leadership.

Happy anniversary.

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