Mafraq is situated on the northern plain, at the edge of the vast eastern desert, but only about twenty kilometres from the Syrian border.
Its name has been given according to its geographical location, being among other countries, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Many of its inhabitants settled here in the 1920’s to work for the Iraq Petroleum Company. This was originally an English Company bringing oil by pipeline through Jordan to Haifa in what was then Palestine. Many Christians came to work for this company. Later with the migration of refugees the number began to increase.
It is a hot and dusty town with low income and poor economy. Occupations are mostly connected with agriculture, military and air force with some being employed in governmental or professional work.
The Latin Patriarchate Parish /School:
There was a parish here during the 1930’s served by a priest who had to travel from Hoson. The present parish priest in 2005, after leaving the Seminary about fifty years ago, has served mostly in this northern area of Jordan, in Ajloun, Irbid and Hoson. While he was training in the Seminary, Father Pierre Medebielle was one of his tutors. Since his arrival in Mafraq not many years ago, he has cultivated a beautiful and productive garden along one side of the Kindergarten.
The school was not established until 1940. At that time there were many British servicemen stationed in the area, they were served by their own priest The Parish Church was built by the British Army and it is said that the soldiers often worked at night using the lights of their vehicles to enable them to see what they were doing.
When the Rosary Sisters arrived in the parish they lived at first in a simple house made of mud bricks. This was situated on a small part of what is now the large playground. The school was originally one room underneath the priest’s house, for boys only with a male teacher. A new building, with classroom accommodation for a school for girls, was constructed in 1959. Following this, in 1960, further work took place, which provided for the boys to be educated in a separate building.
A new Kindergarten, underneath a house for the priest, was built in 1962. Again in 1978 one of the old buildings was demolished to make way for a new construction containing more, larger classrooms. There is no adequate computer laboratory at the moment but it is hoped that soon one will be refurbished and equipped with new computers, with the financial support of the North Western Lieutenancy of the United States.
The Kindergarten has four large classrooms with Principals office and Staff room. Outside is a good play area, which had a central aviary full of exotic birds. However this has since had to be emptied because of the danger to the children if the birds contracted the bird flu disease. There is an enclosed sandy play space, unfortunately with old, metal climbing equipment. Some interior maintenance and redecoration is also necessary.
Mafraq: Saint Joseph
Pastor: Rev. Francis Shahin
Address: P.O.B. 461
Tel: (02) 623 14 16
(02) 623 14 16
Fax: (02) 623 32 13
Mobile: (07) 9 554 34 47