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Caritas Jordan marks its golden jubilee


Jordan Caritas, the social arm of the Catholic Church marked on Wednesday, May 24, its 50th anniversary by celebrating Mass presided over by Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Most Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa at Our Lady of Peace Center in Amman. The Mass was concelebrated by Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali and Apostolic Nuncio in Amman Monsignor Alberto Ortega Martin. Present at the Mass were a number of priests from various churches in Jordan, Caritas Jordan Director General Wael Suleiman, the members and participants in the Caritas Regional Conference of the Middle East and North Africa, official and public figures, Caritas Jordan employees, and a large number of people from various governorates in the Kingdom. In his homily, Bishop Shomali said how beautiful it is to meet all together "to thank God on this joyful 50th anniversary of Caritas Jordan which has unstintingly been serving the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the widowed in addition to visiting the prisoners, feeding the hungry, and housing the refugees.'' He added that it is a source of pride to have Caritas Jordan as a member of Caritas Internationalis which operates in 200 countries. Stressing that Caritas is a Latin word which means love and that love is one of the titles that identifies the Almighty God, he said that this word was chosen as the name of the largest and the most important Catholic institution that serves the needy and the suffering people. He also quoted events from the Holy Bible, which dictates the spirituality of the activities of Caritas by reflecting on the request made by Lord Jesus to His disciples to love one another, according to the Gospel. He continued: "We are in a country that has done its best in welcoming refugees since 1948 up to the wars in Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the wisdom of the leader of this country, His Majesty the King, whom we greet and pray for. We stress to him and to all members of the Jordanian people that Caritas will remain in the service of Jordanians, Christians and Muslims, without discrimination because love joins us all together." He concluded by saying: "We pray together so that Caritas Jordan will continue to perform in the spirituality of the Gospel and the Christian tradition. We pray until each one of us embodies in one's life the acts of mercy in the example of the Lord, Who came not to be served but to serve, and Who, for our sake, became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich." During the Mass, prayers were said thanking the Almighty God for supporting the message of Caritas Jordan over the past five decades which alleviated the suffering of the sick by providing them with medical care, by finding suitable jobs for the unemployed, by housing the forcibly displaced, by making them feel at home, by giving a helping hand to the persecuted and displaced as well as by providing them with love, respect, and peace in Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein. Prior to the end of the Mass, a message addressed by His Holiness Pope Francis was read out. In the message, the Pope sends “warm greetings” marking the 50th anniversary of Caritas Jordan and expresses “his deep appreciation for the generous acts of mercy and charity carried out by members of Caritas Jordan these past many years.” Stressing that he also recalls the sacrifices and prayers of all those who have assisted these works, the Pope underlines the awareness of the urgent needs of refugees and local communities through the Middle East and the world. He adds that he “encourages all who engage in the work of Caritas to deepen their relationship with Christ and to foster fraternity among themselves, so that renewed in spirit they may continue to make Christ’s love present, especially in situations of poverty, injustice and oppression.’’ The Pope concludes his message by renewing his affection for all those engaged in the work of Caritas, and imparts to all the members of Caritas Jordan and those they serve his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and strength in the Lord Jesus. Later a message addressed by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Roman Curia was read out. In his message Cardinal Sandri says: “Born five decades ago, in response to the humanitarian emergency caused by the Six-Day War, Caritas Jordan has greatly advanced in its services to the most needy, our brothers who are poor and weak. It has succeeded in animating and sensitizing the local community and so has helped build a more balanced and tolerant civil society in which the Church is called to be light.” Noting that the social, educational, humanitarian and medical assistance that Caritas Jordan continues to offer to thousands of beneficiaries—through countless initiatives—is widely appreciated, he says: “I will recall here two only two such projects, recently inaugurated during the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the benefit of immigrants from Iraq and Syria, namely the Mercy Restaurant and the Garden of Mercy. Stressing that responding to the needs of the poor requires the gaze of Lord Jesus Christ, he says, “This is the characteristic of Christians, faith that works through charity.” He concluded by stating that “humble and generous people who, like Lord Jesus, can walk beside their brethren, sharing something of their burden.” Caritas Jordan Director General Wael Suleiman conveyed gratitude to the Mother Church for launching its humanitarian arm, Caritas. He also thanked His Majesty the King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein for his dedication to serve humanity. He also thanked the Jordanian government and the Jordanian people who supported the activities of Caritas as well as all those you contributed to launching Caritas Jordan in 1967 and supported its projects over the past years. Deacon Jubran Salameh, chairman of the board of directors of the Caritas Jordan, thanked all the friends, donors and benefactors who contributed to the success of the projects undertaken by Caritas Jordan. He added that this help enabled Caritas to extend a helping hand to the needy, to heal their wounds and to map out a smile of hope of the faces of those distressed.



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