Patriarch Twal inaugurated the new 450 seater Church of Stella Maris in Aqaba, Jordan, on Friday, December 14, 2012. For the first time, the Christians of Aqaba celebrated Christmas in their Church. The reason a church was built is that Aqaba is a city of the future.
Numerous Jordanians come to live in Aqaba where they find work, among them Christian families. Aqaba is a strategic city by its position: a port city, positioned on the border of Israel and not far from Egypt, it attracts Jordanians and also offers work to many migrants. Philippine and Sri Lankan Catholics, numbering about 300, join the local Christians who represent 2% of the city’s population. The new Church of Stella Maria, situated a few minutes from the sea, is also “a witness and a spiritual place of welcome” for Christians in transit, explains the Patriarch, in particular for the many tourists who come to swim, drawn by the Red Sea and the Wadi Rum.
A large hall was built under the church (pictured) for this purpose, to accommodate Christians celebrations: marriages, first communions and others. It will also contribute to parochial life, developing prayer groups for the young, the Legion of Mary, the scout movement, etc. The lieutenancy contributed significantly to the building costs.