ANJARA – On Friday, June 16, 2017, more than 2,000 people gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Mount in northern Jordan during the annual feast of this sanctuary. This annual pilgrimage, initiated by Father Yousef Ne’mat has become one of the largest gathering in the country since 2000.
On Friday, the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mount on the heights of Anjara, welcomed the faithful from all over the country and from different churches. This pilgrimage was launched by Father Yousef Ne’mat, a priest of the Latin Patriarchate, who built the first sanctuary in memory of the passing by of Christ in this place. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary and her Son would have walked the mountain range, which runs along the Jordan and would have taken refuge for a time here in the present location of Anjara during their journey. This pilgrimage gradually became one of the important feasts in the Jordanian Church.
The day began with the praying of the rosary followed by Mass presided by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan. Also present was Bishop Emeritus Maroun Lahham; Dr. Falah Al Swailmin, one of the official representatives of the Ajloun government; Msgr. Roberto Cona, representative of the Apostolic Nuncio in Jordan; Msgr Khaled Akasheh, from the Pontifical Council of Interreligious Dialogue; Archimandrite, Bassam Sahatit, Patriarchal Vicar of the Greek Catholic Church and many diplomatic representatives of friendly countries.
During Mass, Bishop Shomali highlighted the greatness of Mary, a model for all women and all Christians. He also stressed the increasing importance of this sanctuary in Jordan, which welcomes a large number of faithful every year. In 2010, the sanctuary became famous following an astonishing event: a statue of the Blessed Virgin sitting in the middle of the parish house, shed tears of blood. This “miracle” observed by Patriarch Fouad Twal is a living sign of the loving presence of the Virgin in this place that welcomes many orphaned and distressed children. This annual celebration is an occasion to thank Father Hugo, the religious and faithful who take care of the sanctuary daily.
After the celebration, the faithful gathered inside the sanctuary near the statue of the Virgin, which was adorned with flowers for the occasion. Throughout the morning, several priests of different churches were available for confessions. The morning ended with praises from the Maronite priest Fr. Fadi Tabet who danced for the glory of God. This day was also an opportunity for Our Lady of the Mount Home to organize a sale of second-hand items and some creations of the children in order to continue the work of the Latin Patriarchate in this place. (link to the previous article on Our Lady of the Mount.)