Since the dawn of Christianity, Christian communities have flourished in and around the provincial towns of Karak, Madaba, Salt, and Amman, while the growth of Christianity in the Middle East has nurtured a bond with the Hashemite Kingdom. The Christian population is between 5% and 6%. In Jordan, about half the Christians are Jordanian, and the other half are Iraqi.
To maintain the Christian presence in the Holy Land, the Churches consider a good education system in Christian schools to be essential. Therefore, the Churches themselves manage
- 28 schools in Palestine
- 31 schools in Israel and
- 44 schools in Jordan.
The Latin Patriarchate is committed to offering quality instruction to all, girls and boys, Christian and Muslim alike. The Patriarchate has a network of 45 schools and 34 kindergartens and employs 1550 teachers and support staff; 95% are lay and 84% are Christian. They operate within the approved educational programme set by the respective governments. In addition to the standard curriculum, schools offer such programs as psychological assistance, help for special-needs students, catechism, French, biology. Additional classes are provided in music, arts, ecological awareness, peace and social responsibility, and schools offer sports in which boys and girls participate.
Unlike schools in Israel, private schools in Palestine and Jordan receive little financial support from education ministries.
Part finance a new printing plant and the transfer of machinery for the Patriarchate at just outside Jerusalem. It has printed the new Catechism, pastoral letters, the diocesan paper etc. This Project also provided much needed employment.
On the boundaries of the town of Bethlehem and Beit-Jala House stands St. Theresa’s (a university residence for girls), on the road to Hebron, the Lieutenancy assisted its conversion into a hostel for about 40 girl students of the University whose homes are a considerable distance away.
A Maronite cleric undertaking post graduate studies.
In January 2009 following appeal from the Grand Master.to the world wide Order, Ireland sent a sizable donation to assist in humanitarian aid following the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
Purchase of land for a school. Hashimi is situated in a densely populated area in the east of Amman not far from the centre of downtown.
This continues year in year out. In the humanitarian area, the four core programs of
- social assistance;
- medical emergencies;
- medicines; and
- educational support.
These have been complimented with additional programs of assistance targeting three specific groups being Iraqi refugees in Jordan; unemployed youth in Gaza; and marginalized families in East Jerusalem. Through these funds, hundreds of families were supported, though temporarily in some cases to enable them to live a dignified life. New programs are being designed to target the chronic social cases to enroll them in empowerment programs to assist them stand on their own feet in the future. Ireland has supported fellow Christians in East Jerusalem and assisted medical provision.
An example of how these donations was utilized is as follows: K.A. is a 5-year-old little girl from Beit Jala. Her family consists of 4 members who live in their own house. Her father works as a teacher at the Latin Beit Jala School. Her mother works in the Good Shepherd School, where the family total income is about 7,500 NIS per month. The family has a loan from the bank and they have monthly payments. K. suffers from congenital problems in her left eye. K underwent several operations in her eye, but her situation did not improve. In order not to lose her sight she underwent a very critical and sensitive surgery at Hadasah Hospital and because they are from the West bank and have no insurance for Israeli hospital they were forced to pay the whole amount. The total cost of her operation was NIS 28,450 (€7,300) which is a big amount for a family with a minimum income. In cooperation with Christian organizations the LPJ was able to contribute to help K. with a total of 5, 000 NIS to allow the little girl to undergo the surgery and to return home in better conditions.
Includes the administrative cost of the Patriarchate, funds to meet the cost of maintaining the Latin Seminary, to meet the expenses of the clergy and their workers, in all the Patriarch, 4 bishops, 86 priests and 118 nuns; and help for the schools, which includes kindergartens.
The erection of a secondary school. Kerak is located in the Kingdom of Jordan, 124km south of Amman. It is the largest town in South Jordan. The Parish dates to 1871. The school was built in the neighbourhood of the Christian villages of Ader, Smakieh [the only village in Jordan inhabited solely by Catholics – Latin and Melkite rites with a population of 1500], Rabbas and Hmoud. Currently 800 pupils. A sizable donation, in conjunction with Lieutenancies in France and Canada Montreal and the Grand Magisterium was made for a parish church. The parish church is dedicated to “Our Lady of the Rosary” and is the only one in Jordan to have a decorated wooden ceiling.
Madaba Schools Project
Madaba is a medium-sized city of 60,000 in Jordan, located 25km southwest of Amman and 20 minutes from Mt. Nebo. It has become known as the “City of the Mosaics” for the many Byzantine mosaics that have been uncovered throughout the city. In Madaba Balad (close to the city) there will be a mixed school for boys and girls up to grade 3 and a girls’ school from grade 4 to 12, while Madaba Ma’in will become a single sex school for boys from grade 4 to 12. The works (construction and plant) included the electro-mechanical systems, 32 classrooms, 1 library, 4 laboratories and 30 WC units. The total internal works area is over 3500 sq. mts., while external works amount to 1800 sq. mts. of walls and roof plus 1500 sq. mts. of outdoor facilities and playground.
Part payment of the tuition fees of the Christian students attending Naour School, which was founded in 1924. The school family is of both sexes and has both a Christian and Muslim student base and teaching staff. The School caters from kindergarten and Primary ie ages 4 to 11. The Lieutenancy recently funded the capital expansion of the School. This involves an extension of around 95 sq mt to the ground floor, to host the new Computer and Science laboratories. The members of the Lieutenancy have visited the School, its students and teachers on many occasions.
A donation in excess of €100,000 to this school, which is in Northern Israel: the School was established in 1912. Has 377 students of whom 329 are Christian (2008). Rameh itself is entirely made up of Israeli Arabs and has a mostly Christian and Druze population as well as a smaller Muslim population. A further expansion is being undertaken currently.
The Patriarchal Seminary which was established in 1852 is located at Beit Jala. So far, over 280 priests have been ordained from it. The average number ordained is 2. Geographically, two thirds of the students come from Jordan and the other third come from Palestine and Israel. Ireland financed an extension to the Patriarchal Seminary. This is an important project in view of an increasing number of adult vocations. The applicants who enter the Major Seminary need to attend a one-year preparatory course (concentrating on furthering the practice of prayer, communal living and Christian virtues). During this time they need to be housed close to, yet separate from, the students in the Upper Seminary. Currently there are 32 minor seminarians and 18 major seminarians.
Tla’ Al ‘Ali
The building of a Church, hall and presbytery This is situated in a district to the north east of Amman in a mixed economic area where there is some unemployment.
“Our faithful and the other Palestinian citizens aspire to sovereignty and independence. In the land of Christ, they are not foreigners. It is their homeland”. Unity in Diversity, first pastoral letter of Patriarch Twal May 2009.