Agenzia Fides highlights 150th anniversary of Catholic schools in Jordan

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Agenzia Fides highlights 150th anniversary of Catholic schools in Jordan

Agenzia Fides

Catholic schools in Jordan have celebrated the 150th anniversary of the beginning of their adventure in the lands now governed by the Hashemite Kingdom and reaffirm their cultural and spiritual mission at the service of the local population, largely Muslim, carried out also thanks to the contribution of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

At the ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the first Catholic schools in the lands beyond the Jordan River, which took place on Saturday, October 5, at the Our Lady of Peace Center in Amman and saw the participation of Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Raja'i Muash'ir, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali, and the Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Archbisop Fouad Twal.

Fr. Wissam Mansour, director general of the schools of the Latin Patriarchate in Jordan, reported that currently the 25 schools and the 18 kindergartens that are in Jordan that belong to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem serve a school population of 11,000 students, Christians and Muslims.

The first Catholic school in the territories of present-day Jordan, was founded in the city of Salt by Don Alessandro Macagno, the legendary Abuna Skandar, who preached the Gospel to the Christians beyond the Jordan and taking with him a mobile altar to celebrate the Eucharist. At that time the Ottoman governor did not want to grant permission: it was the locals, Christians and Muslims together, who overcame resistance. Even the Muslim understood that they could only expect good things from that man who taught them to read and write.

In the second half of the19th century, those founded beyond the Jordan by the priests of the new Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem were the first schools opened in a closed and marginal world, all defined by the social practices of tribalism. Teaching the illiterate is a work of spiritual mercy. And the teaching offered to all --Christians and Muslims, poor and rich, people from the north and the south--was the passepartout that allowed the apostolic witness to take root in rural or desert areas, which for centuries had not seen any Catholic pastoral initiative.

Thanks to their educational work, Jordan's Catholic schools have long since acquired a full citizenship right in the country. When the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was created, the school network of the Latin Patriarchate--soon joined by large colleges inaugurated in Amman by Catholic religious congregations--still represented the only "native" educational system in existence.

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 10:59
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