Blessing and Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony
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Under the patronage of
His Beatitude the Jerusalem Latin Patriarch
The Latin Parish of Marj Alhamam has the pleasure to invite you at the ceremony of
Blessing and Laying of the Foundation Stone
Of the New Church and Hall
On Tuesday 18 September 2007 @ 6.00 PM
Dear Father Hanna
I had a look today at your website and was delighted to see that the blessing and laying of the foundation stone will take place next week. This is real progress and excellent news. While I shall obviously be unable to attend I shall certainly be with you in spirit and look forward to your continuing progress with the building. Congratulations to you and your parish.
Benedict McHugo, UK
14 September 2007
Dear Fr Hanna,
Our prayers to the Lord Jesus to keep on you the good health and give you strength to continue building his churches on earth.
Boulus Shaddad, Doha, Qatar. 17 September 2007.
On the dot of 5:50 on the evening of 18th September 2007 the convoy carrying His Beatitude, Patriarch Michel Sabah arrived at the site of the new church. Accompanying him were Bishop Selim Sayegh, Bishop Fouad Twal, as well as priests from the Patriarchate. Waiting to welcome him were the Parish Priest, Father Hanna Kildani, members of the parish of Marj Alhamam and a number of guests. Also attending the festivities were Armenian Orthodox Bishop, Fahan Tobalian and Anglican Bishop John Norr, parishioners from Marj Al Hamam and Na’our, a number of monks, nuns and priests, several notable Christians of various denominations, people with an interest in church and public affairs and members of the wider Naber family as well as the close family of the late Mr Jamil Naber, with his widow, Mrs Laurice Naber, and children, Mike, Samir, Maurice, and Domia.
Proceedings at the Festivities: at exactly six o’clock in the evening the Patriarch headed towards the site of the festivities inside the hall under cover. Beforehand the main path to the hall had been swept and covered with carpets. In front of the Patriarch walked the youngsters of the parish and the guests. Coffee was served at the entrance to the convent. The festivities began with the parish priest, Father Hanna Kildani, making a speech of welcome to the guests in which he gave them a detailed account of the building project. Then the Patriarch prayed over the foundation stone before formally laying it in place. Immediately afterwards the parish choir sang a hymn and then the Patriarch and the clergy went up to the congregation who were approaching 550 in number. Everyone had the opportunity to greet the Patriarch and the bishops which was followed by commemorative photos. Finally the Patriarch’s convoy left the convent promptly at 7:10 in the evening.
Address by Father Hanna Kildani, Parish Priest of Marj Alhamam
Your Beatitude, Patriarch Michel Sabah
My Lord Bishops, Bishop Selim Sayegh, Bishop Fuad Twal, Bishop Fahan Tubalian, Bishop John Nor…Brother priests and monks, reverend sisters…Dear friends, brothers and sisters
“Be respectful and loving to these people, because from their midst will rise priests, bishops, patriarchs and builders of churches.” Your Beatitude, these words were written by your predecessor of happy memory, Patriarch Vincento Bracco, to the Parish Priest of Kerak, Father Alexandre Macagno, during the Ottoman period in the nineteenth century. Your predecessors continued their care for our people and their needs relying on the people’s love of God, their natural generosity and their devotion to the Church. As they grew in strength they began building churches and schools becoming partners with the Latin Patriarchate in its spiritual, humanitarian and social endeavours both in Jordan and in the wider Holy Land. These words of your predecessor did a lot to set us on the path to starting this project.
His lordship, Bishop Selim Sayegh, and the late Mr Jamil Khalil Naber, better know to us as Abu Salih, kindled the first thoughts of building this church….this took hold among the parishioners of Marj Alhamam and friends of the parish both in this country and abroad as they followed the path set by Abu Salih, under the direction of Bishop Selim, and provided crucial help to us. Oh how we had hoped that Abu Salih might be with us today but the Lord in his love decided otherwise and called him away to the Kingdom of Heaven. But let his place be taken by his wife, who we know as Umm Salih, and their children, Mike, Samir, Maurice and Domia. In the words of the prayer of the Church for the faithful departed: eternal rest grant unto him Oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him: may he rest in peace, amen. Indeed, the people of Marj Alhamam and their friends and loved ones, despite their limited resources, have been a tremendous support for the project giving from what God has given them. Up to today we have received 236 thousand dinars in cash. We shall carry on with the building in the knowledge that the cost of building the main structure without fixtures or fittings is likely to come to 450 thousand dinars. In persevering down this road we shall rely on divine providence and on the generosity of the faithful to enable us to complete the church. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and the encouragement of both Christians and others responding in the spirit advocated by St Paul in the Epistle to Philemon: “However I do not want to do anything without your consent: it would have been forcing your act of kindness which should be spontaneous.” (Paul to Philemon: Verse 14)
I want to thank all those who have given towards the building of the church and also to thank those who will give in future. Every donation has something great and plentiful about it because behind each gift lies a heart turning to divine love and a desire for beauty and good…
Your Beatitude, In the modern period your flock in Jordan have built 14 churches, of which 9 during your term of office. These are:
4.Chapel at Fuheis Cemetery- Fuheis
5. Madaba: Holy Spirit
6.Anjara, Sanctuary OF Our Lady of the Mountain
10. Holy Rosary, Shamisani
11. Church of the Visitation-Fuheis Hashemieh
12. Safout: Chapel at Naber Family Burial Ground
13. Chapel at Madaba New Cemetery
14. Our Lady of Peace Centre Church
During the same period 10 old churches have been restored, again by the people of Jordan and mostly at their own expense, and all during your term of office
3. Jebal Amman-First Circle
We now ask the Lord for joy this evening as you bless the foundation stone of this new church. This stone will be the base for the tabernacle where Our Lord will be present as our refuge and our God so that He may bless in this holy place those whom he has healed and may increase and grow in their hearts zeal, devotion, generosity, and sacrifice and, thus, He may become our light and an example of goodness to be followed in sacrifice and devotion.
Allow me, your Beatitude, to say a few words about the hall and the church.
The hall: 721 square metres
The church will be on top of the hall with an entrance from the northern upper road and also from the hall courtyard underneath the belfry. In length it will be 40 metres, width 20 metres and height 10.5 in the centre and 7.5 at the sides and the height of the belfry 23 metres. The area of the church with the galleries will be 989 square metres with capacity for 800 people.
The cost of the main building is estimated at 450,000 dinars and total donations received to date amount to 236,000 dinars of which 212,000 came from the late Abu Salih al Naber leaving a deficit of 184,000 dinars….this is excluding fixtures and fittings which are likely to come to more than 400,000 dinars…but for the first stage up to completing the main structure we are talking about a cost estimated at 450,000 dinars. Full details are posted on the church website in Arabic and English.
The church will serve the areas of Marj Alhamam, Na’our and the Seventh Circle of Amman as far as the Radio Tower as well as the area between Madaba and the Airport road which is a major residential development zone for the Amman area.
The State of Jordan, founded by the Hashemites and now ruled by His Majesty King Abdullah bin Al Hussein, whom we keep in our prayers, has always shown special respect for places of worship. Churches are exempt from municipal taxes and levies as well as the tax on permits. Materials for building churches are exempt from purchase taxes. Similarly donors are exempt from income tax on donations to churches. Without doubt these incentives are a great help in meeting costs and offer encouragement to donors.
I would like to thank all those involved on the operational side of the project: the engineers, Mr Samir Sa’ad, Samir Al Namet, Mr Nasser Oweis, Mr Waseem Namet and all the workers and craftsmen working with them: also Father Assam Jaser, Director of the Vicariate Finance Department and all his staff with especial thanks to his Department for looking after the accounts for us.
Dear guests. The coffee and refreshments were all provided by families from Marj Alhamam parish and prepared in their homes. In the name of everyone in the parish as well as the nuns, the youth and the mothers’ groups I am delighted to welcome you here today and give you our very best wishes.
Finally, your Beatitude, may I ask you to bless this foundation stone and also to pray for the members of this parish both living and dead. In your capacity as Patriarch of Jerusalem you head the Mother Church and are the Patriarch of the Church of the Resurrection please remember us when you pray in the church buildings entrusted to you, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth…..May the Lord grant us all peace, goodness, quiet, and all things necessary for our wellbeing in this life and the life to come. Give us your blessings, oh Lord….
Father Hanna Kildani
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