‘Upcoming papal visit testimony to Jordan’s peace, stability’

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‘Upcoming papal visit testimony to Jordan’s peace, stability’

Rula Samain-

Pope Francis’ visit to the Kingdom is a testimony that Jordan is a hub of peace and stability, Tourism Ministry officials told reporters on Monday.

Tourism Minister Nidal Katamine said the government is working to take advantage of the Pope’s May 24 visit to showcase the Kingdom as a land of peace and an “open oasis” of historic treasures, in an attempt to give a boost to the tourism sector.

“The Kingdom is unique... with the great number of archaeological sites, both earthed and unearthed,” Katamine noted.

“The biggest challenge facing the ministry is how to attract the maximum number of tourists worldwide,” he added.

Also speaking at the press conference, Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said Pope Francis’ visit highlights the human values of interfaith dialogue and coexistence that the Kingdom is promoting through various initiatives at the international level.

Momani, also minister of state for media affairs and communications, said representatives of different media outlets wishing to cover Pope Francis’ visit should fill in an online application available on the websites of the Foreign Ministry (www.mfa.gov.jo), the Tourism Ministry (www.tourism.jo) and the Jordan Tourism Board (www.visitjordan.com).

Momani said the Pope will be officially welcomed at the airport, after which he will meet His Majesty King Abdullah and senior officials.

“Later he will hold mass at the Amman International Stadium and then he will visit the Baptism Site,” he told reporters.

Father Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media (CCSM) and the official spokesperson for the visit on behalf of the Catholic Church in Jordan, said the CCSM has issued cards to those interested in attending the Mass.

“The cards are free and come in different colours depending on the seat at the stadium, and are distributed at all Catholic and Orthodox churches and parishes,” Bader said.

He told The Jordan Times that around 20,000 people are expected to attend the Mass.

The Pope will also meet leaders of all churches in Jordan and Palestine, with the aim of strengthening Christian unity.

Bader noted that Pope Francis is a man who seeks to spread a spirit of peace among believers of the three Abrahamic faiths.

“He wishes that the believers use their faith to spread peace and not use religion for destruction and killing.”

The pontiff is also scheduled to visit the Jordan River, and meet with children with disabilities, as well as Syrian and Iraqi refugees at the Catholic Church.

“The children have prepared a surprise for His Holiness by singing the prayer of St. Francis, whom he is named after: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.”

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 08:25
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