Catholic Church to mark 20th anniversary of pilgrimage to Baptism Site

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Catholic Church to mark 20th anniversary of pilgrimage to Baptism Site

Amman-en.abouna.org

On Friday, January 10, the Catholic Church in Jordan is scheduled to celebrate, the 20th anniversary of the national and Christian pilgrimage day to the Baptism Site of Lord Jesus Christ, the place where more than 2,000 years ago Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by Saint John the Baptist, marking the beginning of His public mission.

Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader said that the celebration this year, namely 2020 represents a great spiritual importance, as it coincides with the 20th anniversary since the start of the Christian pilgrimage to this holy site in the modern time. He indicated that the religious celebration will take place at the Baptism of Lord Jesus Christ Church, adjacent to the Jordan River, with the participation of heads of Catholic Churches, a number of Arab and foreign ambassadors, and a large crowd of believers coming from different parts of the Kingdom.

He pointed out that pilgrimage to this unique site started in 2000 with two celebrations. The first one included the various churches with prayers in January marking the grand jubilee. The second one had a historic presence of Pope John Paul II who performed a prayer in the presence of more than 40,000 people next to Elijah Church at the Wadi Al-Kharrar. At this site, the Pope--who passed away in 2005 and was canonized in 2014--said that he would "pray for Jordan’s Christians and Muslims, especially for the sick and the elderly." Since that year, an idea emerged regarding building churches in the most important religious Christian site on the soil of Jordan. Furthermore, it was announced in 2015 that this site was included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

Fr. Bader went on to say that during this grand religious celebration, prayers will be said for the perpetuation of security and stability in the Kingdom so that it would remain a beacon of peace and tranquility under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ben Al-Hussein, and the vigilant security apparatuses. Prayers will also be said for peace in various Arab countries, especially in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, as well as for countries in the world that seek peace and justice.

He also praised the sincere and unstinting efforts carried out for developing, managing and promoting the site, namely the Baptism Site Commission chaired by HRH Prince Ghazi Ben Mohammad, the Baptism Site Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Jordan Tourism Board, the Churches, the Armed Forces, and the Media.

Prior to the Mass, the CCCSM will hold a press conference near the River Jordan with the participation of Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, as well as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Majd Al-Shweikeh in the presence of the heads of Catholic Churches in Jordan. The homily will be presented by Bishop Joseph Jbarah, archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Petra and Philadelphia and entire Jordan.

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