January 11, 2000
volume 11, no. 7
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


All Denominations Meet on Banks of Famous River

    ZARQA, JAN 10 (ZENIT-FIDES).- An ecumenical prayer meeting was held on January 7, in the very place where Jesus was most probably baptized in the Jordan, not far from Amman. This was the first time the Church in Jordan has organized an event of such proportions. It was supported by Bishops of all rites and creeds and by Muslim civil authorities, who realized that appreciation for the place of Jesus' Baptism could be an added motive for development of the country's tourism.

    There were some 20,000 participants, who gathered in a semi-circle that extended over more than half a mile. The celebration was presided by Catholic Bishops of the Latin and Greek rites, and by Orthodox and Anglican bishops. There were also representatives from the Armenian, Coptic-Orthodox, Syrian-Orthodox, Maronite, Chaldean, and Lutheran Churches. The homily was given by Malachite Bishop George Elmour.

    Following the Liturgy of the Word, the participants renewed their baptismal promises. Simultaneously, 2,000 candles were lit on the altar representing the 2,000 years of light brought by Christ into the world. At the end of the ceremony, seven doves were released as a sign of peace.

    The celebration ended with performances by various Church choirs and the Jordanian army's military band. The civilian authorities openly expressed their enthusiasm over the event. Indeed, it was regarded by some as a rehearsal for John Paul II's visit to the country next March. The event was covered by several national and foreign television stations.

    4% of Jordan's inhabitants, who number a total of 5.5 million, are Christian. Catholics constitute about 1%, or some 66,000. ZE00011004


January 11, 2000
volume 10, no. 7

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