Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jordan: Until We Meet Again

Dear Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,

I've had a very good time getting to know you during these past two years and you have been very dear to me. I will miss you as I head to new ministries in Boston and the U.S.A. I continue to wish you the very best. I've seen tremendous growth in you during these past two years and I know additional growth will come.

I just finished reading an excellent book about Jordan called "King's Counsel" by Jack O'Connell. His book tells of the ever-persistent optimism of the late King Hussein. He often mentions that he was a peace-maker, but that his offers were never really appreciated. Anyways, his love for you is heart-warming. I feel the same way.

Please take care of my parishioners. I wish them the best. You do a nice job in tolerating religious differences and I hope you make some changes to your legal system to make it easier for your people and your guests to feel welcome to remain in the Kingdom as citizens. These Catholics are very good people and need you to understand more of our heritage so that you can help them express themselves religiously in freedom.

Speaking of heritage, I'm glad you are exploring additional Christian tourism in the Kingdom. You are certainly the Holy Land of the Old and New Testaments. Abram (Abraham) and his family lived and walked through your deserts; Lot settled the lands of the East Bank; Elijah and Elisha prophesied and performed miracles on your banks; Moses and his band wandered the wilderness; Urish the Hittite died at the Citadel; the Baptist swam in your rivers and he lost his head at Mukawer; the people of the Decapolis witnessed the teachings of Jesus, as did the Gerasense Demoniac at Umm Qais near Lake Tiberias, Jesus retreated often across the Jordan for respite and safety. You have always been a place to welcome others. The early church thrived in your cities and built churches that beg to be discovered; you sent your bishops to the Council of Nicaea and formed our Creed; you allowed the church to grow and prosper in freedom.

I will miss my parishioners. They have become a major part of my life and I was just getting to know them. I enjoyed hearing their stories and coming to know them as people of faith. It seemed that my work was just beginning.

Watch over Dozan wa Awtar. They are the future of Jordan and they are a great bunch of people. They come from a rich variety of backgrounds, which allows them to offer a great deal to the general public. Please recognize the good that you have in them. They have become dear friends.

Bless the Jesuit community, the local church, the Orthodox faith, and all who are in your borders.

I pray that your remain safe at your borders and that peace between Palestine and Israel comes about very soon. We need peace and prosperity. Thanks for your good shepherding of the many ways of peace. Now, it is time that it simply come about.

I will miss you and all my friends. My heart is attached to you. Right now, I'm leaving for a new ministry and I look forward to the day when we meet again.

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