The Latin Parish of Fuheis
Immaculate Heart of Mary ChurchA Parish does not just consist of a Church and a school. A community sharing faith, hope and charity by means of kind neighborliness and spiritual worship form the basis of a strong and thriving Parish which cherishes its young, provides support and fulfillment for its families and cares for its elderly.
Location of Jordan on the World Map:
Jordan is a Royal constitutional Arab State in the Middle East. Palestine and Israel are sited Jordan from the West, Iraq and Saudi Arabia on the East. Syria is to the North, and Saudi Arabia to the South. The population of Jordan is about 4 million. Christians making up 5% of the total. His Majesty King Abdullah II rules the country.
Location of Fuheis in Jordan:
Fuheis lies in the middle of Jordan near the capital, Amman. It is 100km from Jerusalem and 250km from Damascus, the capital of Syria. Fuheis is a little town of 12 thousand inhabitants, most of them Christians: 1/3 catholic, 2/3 orthodox. Most of its population works in trade, agriculture (especially olive trees), cement industry and civil or office jobs. Christians in Fuheis, Arab Christians were there long ago before Islam, and they have remained during the subsequent centuries.
The Latin Parish of Fuheis belongs to the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate, centered in Jerusalem. The Latin Church is the common name of the Catholic Church in the Middle East. The Latin Patriarchate includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Cyprus, and its Head is His Beatitude Mgr. Michel Sabbah. His Beatitude General Vicar in Amman is His Excellency Mgr. Salim Sayegh.
Latin Parish of Fuheis:
The Latin Parish of Fuheis was established in 1874 during the Ottoman era (Turkish), which ruled Jordan from 1516~1918. That was the age of Ignorance, poverty and illness, and the church was a pioneer in education. The parishes of the Latin Patriarchate prospered since the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1921. So the country has gradually stepped into the age of modernization and development, but the people of Fuheis have not abandoned their authentic qualities that go back to the Bedouin roots, and their old spirit that goes back to the early dawn of Christianity.
The number of families of the Parish in Fuheis is 600 and two parish priests serve the two churches of the Parish, Fr Hanna Kildani and Fr. Ziad Naffa. Masses are held on Sundays in both churches. The church has many spiritual and social activities, which enable every member of the society to participate and share the faith and experience. Beginning from little children, the young are represented in scouts groups for both boys and girls and Christian Youth of varying ages, also we have the Parish Synod Committees and the Christian Ladies Associations. All these activities include more than 300 people. The Latin parish in Fuheis is considered one of the most active parishes in voluntary work. You can find in Fuheis many associations that help to protect the local environment and spread cultural consciousness
*Immaculate Heart of St. Mary Church: It is well known as the church of Balad. It was built in 1932, and needs a radical renewal and restoration.
*Saint Mary, Mother of all Blessings Church: Its well known as the church of Alali", and was built in 1986 with the full donation of father Yousef Nemat, who is a native of Fuheis.
*Saint George Church, Cemetery Church: was built in 1979 through the generous donation of Mr. Barham O. Abou Dayyeh. All parishes in Fuheis share this church: Latin, Greek Catholic and Orthodox, where funeral prayers and ceremonies are held.
Mass Times & Other Spiritual Services:
A daily mass is held at 7.30 AM. On Sunday the first mass is held at the church of Balad at 7AM, the second mass at 9AM, and the third at the church of Alali at 5.00PM, (6.00 summer time).Baptisms, confessions, weddings and extreme unction etc are available upon request by previous appointments.
Its not easy to talk about schools in Fuheis, because their history goes back more than a hundred years. A school was established almost at the same time as the Parish was established (1874), and teaching at the beginning focused on religion, mathematics and Arabic language.
The Latin schools in Fuheis are divided into three parts; Kindergarten, Elementary and Secondary. All of them accept both genders.
During the scholastic year 2000~2001 the number of students amounted to 1115 with 80 teachers. The yearly cost in these schools is $245.00 for the Kindergarten and $703.00 for the Elementary and Secondary. The mission of our schools is to offer Christian education, which is why every student whether poor or middle class, is accepted. So the fees do not cover the expenses of the school which became Christian Charity School. There is therefore a shortage of $150000.00 every year. That has been an obstacle to development. The school has achieved a great deal in the 1990s with the hard job of teaching and with excellent and firm administration it reached one of the highest positions in the Kingdom of Jordan. The results of the General Secondary Examination (Tawjihi) for four consecutive years are greatly improved the reputation of the school over other schools. All students passed the final exam, and some of them were among the top ten in the Kingdom. This led to an increase in the number of students, who joined the school from Amman and other nearby areas. Six buses bring students to schools. The cost of this transport is variable between $115.00 ~340.00, depending on the location of the student.
Religious congregation in the Parish of Fuheis:
There are four Religious congregations in Fuheis:
- Rosary Sisters: There are three sisters in our parish. They serve the church and the schools of the Parish.
- Visitation Home: The Rosary Sisters Visitation Home is one of the catholic institutions in Jordan, the aim of this home is to serve elderly women, and to host pilgrimage groups that come to visit the holy places in Jordan.
- Humanitarian Care House: Established by Fr. Yousef Nemat and managed by the Lebanese Cross Sisters Congregation. This house specializes in accommodating and serving both elderly and handicapped people. This house was inaugurated in 1999 under the patronage of Her Majesty Ranya Al-Abdullah Queen of Jordan, and Fr. Nemat had the honor to receive a medal from Her Majesty.
- Caritas: Caritas is the social expression of the Catholic Church in Jordan. It has established a family clinic and a sewing center for women in order to help them to improve their families income. Two Iraqi Dominican sisters run it. They exert personal efforts to help Iraqi families who suffer from poverty and need, following the Iraqi crisis which caused unbearable burdens.
Projects achieved In the Last Ten Years:
*Building a secondary school in 1995. A generous donation by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem enabled the Patriarchate to provide Fuheis Parish with this modern school.
*The restoration of the old convent (priests house) and the old church in Balad in the year 1996. These two buildings were used as a church in Fuheis till 1932, when the old church became a church hall for the parish. The expenses of the restoration of the convent was covered by the Latin Patriarchate, and the expenses of the restoration of the church hall, were covered by the generous people of Fuheis.
*A new extension was in Alalis school was built in 1999, the people of Fuheis and their friends donated the cost.
Project Under Study:
*Restoration of Immaculate Heart of St. Mary Church (Balad Church): This church was built in 1932 and it needs radical restoration. Water leaks from its ceiling in winter, and there are other structural and constructional problems. Of course we cannot have our dream come true for the sake of this dear church, without the support and donations of the inhabitants of Fuheis and their friends. The estimated cost of this desired restoration is about $232395.00, based upon a preliminary study done by a consulting engineering office, recommended by the Patriarcat. We hope a considered local contribution, as our parishioners used to do! For more information , click here: FUHEIS CHURCH RESTORATION
Jordanian citizens in general are known for their modality hatred for extravagancy and violence and a desire for openness and accepting the other. This way of thinking was enhanced after the Second Vatican Council, when relationships with the other churches like Orthodox and Protestant have improved. Marriages between members of these churches are the proof of these good links. Moreover, the relations between the Christian Jordanians and the Muslims are built upon mutual respect and understanding. Jordans constitution does not differentiate between the citizens according to their race or faith.
As the Parish in Fuheis belongs to the Jerusalem Church, which was known for centuries as Mother of Churches, everyone can feel and touch its loyalty to the whole Christian world. The Catholic Church considers every individual a member that belongs to it, because has been the church of Jesus since the early dawn of history. So, the church welcomes all means of friendship and communication with the other churches in the world through sharing prayers and exchanging experiences. Since the Sepulchre of Jesus is the heart of Jerusalem, Jerusalem is considered our spiritual capital.
Yours in XTO