Our Lady of Peace Center: A humanitarian, national and Christian message

Our Lady of Peace Center: A humanitarian, national and Christian message

By Fr. Rif'at Bader

A few days ago, a new book was issued titled, “Our Lady of Peace Center, a Message and a Church". The author of the book is Bishop Salem Sayegh, the founder of the center. However, he chose not to post his name giving credibility to the Latin Patriarchate (or rather the Latin Vicariate).

The book highlights the significance of Our Lady of Peace Center which is located on the Airport Road in Amman. The center offers hospitality to refugees, pilgrims, youths, tourists and delegations from all over the world. The center was launched in 2004 under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania who visited the center during Christmas celebrations last year. Since then, the center represented a unique Jordanian phenomenon relevant to the coherent relations between Muslims and Christians particular the poor, the suffering and those who look to the future with hope and challenge without being desperate.

The center is a Christian Arab message. The book’s preface written by Most Rev. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, states that the Christians in Jordan "are not a people separate from their Muslim brethren. They are rather children of one civilization with all its components; and they own a great heritage of living together and cordiality. Their belonging to the homeland is based on history and common destiny.’’ From this premise, the message of Our Lady of Peace Center is part of the "Jordanian Message" whereby Jordan’s King, government and people, espouse the message which states that “we are the only Arab country that has a historical, social and constitutional infrastructure on which our country can build and map out a clear policy of full citizenship to all its citizens, based on loyal and steadfast Arabism that is shared between Muslims and Christians.” The book describes the message of Our Lady of Peace Center as a humanitarian, national and Christian message. The cornerstone of the center was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2000. The center was also visited by Pope Benedict in 2009. The second part of the books addresses the Church that was inaugurated ten years ago. It is one of the largest modern churches in Jordan. It is characterized by the drawings that decorate the walls and reflect the real nature of Jordan and the Holy Land. It depicts Lord Jesus Christ, His Mother Virgin Mary, as well as prophets Elijah, Moses and John the Baptist, in addition to the martyrs of the first centuries of Christianity who died for their faith at the time. These paintings, drawn by French nuns from Beit Jamal Monastery in Palestine, embody genuine sanctity in our homeland. It is an invitation to the Jordanians to get acquainted with these archaeological sites. It is also a call to friends everywhere to come to Jordan so as to perform Christian pilgrimage.

The new book shows two things, namely the old Christian presence in our beloved country and the distinguished relations between Muslims and Christians through cooperation and brotherhood, rather than through the philosophical and intellectual forums that are held from time to time focusing on eloquent speeches and lectures, which are undoubtedly important. It is important to conduct the dialogue of “life” by focusing on the common religious and humanitarian aspects and in drawing practical attention to the needs of the poorest and pained people, and in giving priority to serving this segment of the dear community, which always needs to be provided with all the latest scientific discoveries which alleviate pain and revive hope. Above all, it is important to disseminate love and respect on a daily basis just as is the case with Our Lady of Peace Center.

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