Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2022

On pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Mount

Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader :

Our dear Jordanian churches have marked the pilgrimage season to the grotto of Our Lady of the Mount in Anjara. To clarify this point, the pilgrimage in Christianity is conducted to the holy places that are officially approved by the authorized official ecclesiastical authority. This site, Our Lady of the Mount, has been approved since the year  2000  by the Holy See--or rather  the Vatican--among the five pilgrimage sites in that unique year, which was called the Great Jubilee Year. The other sites are Tell Mar Elias near Anjara, Mount Nebo, Machaerus, and the Baptism Site.


The second point is that Christianity does not have a specific time for pilgrimage and for getting blessed in the holy places, as this is open throughout the year, but these are governed by times set and holidays for pilgrimage to these sites, such as the Feast of Baptism and pilgrimage to the Baptism Site on the first weeks of the year, Mount Nebo on the Feast of the Prophet Moses on September 4, the Feast of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist in Machaerus on August 29, and the Feast of St. Elias on July 20. These are fixed annual holidays. As for Our Lady of the Mount, we first began celebrating it with the approval of the local Church authority as well as the official authorities on June 10 of each year, because it is an official holiday marking Army Day. And when the holiday was cancelled, the feast was approved on the third Friday of June.


This year, thousands of people came to the grotto in Anjara, which was viewed as such in 1925 with the late Italian priest Angelino Forcito, who is considered the founder of the Latin parish in Anjara. Since 1970, the late Fr. Yousef Ne’mat, served the parish until 2001, Fr. Yousef Ne’mat, who died in 2009 after he established the Home of the Human Care in Fuheis, which is designed to take care of the elderly. He is the one who launched this renovated grotto in 1972. In 2000, he exerted efforts to enlist it as an official and approved Christian pilgrimage site.


Efforts have been pooled to commemorate this day which included priests and nuns of the Congregation of the Incarnate Word, who will also be spiritually responsible for the Baptism Church in Baptism Site,  the notables and people of Anjara parish, the Ajloun Governorate with all its official institutions, as well as the Ministry of Tourism an Antiquities, as well as the Jordan Tourism Board that provided free buses to transport the worshipers to and from the place of celebration and to the Latin Patriarchate at a time when this day has become incorporated into the annual calendar of His Beatitude Patriarch Pierbattista and Latin Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Jamal Daibes, who participated for the first time since assuming the patronage of the Latin Church in Jordan.


Despite the fact that the event  went well, we--as participants in such events--are invited to conduct joint preparations, to ensure larger spaces for buses arriving from various destinations, as well as to guarantee the coverage of the local media, especially our official television. As we always say, religious tourism cannot thrive without concerted efforts, consequently, media is one of the world's  major factors for highlighting the important sites in our holy countries.