Watad, Jordan's first Christian festival

Published: September 07 Thu, 2017

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AMMAN – On Saturday, September 2, the Bible Society of Jordan organized the first Christian festival in Jordan. Known as “Watad”, a sign of unity, this gathering welcomed, Father Makary Younan and Pastor Sameh Maurice.  Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan and Patriarch Emeritus Fouad Twal, were both present.

A festival in the spirit of unity

On Saturday, more than 8,000 people flocked at the gates of the University of Jordan, along the road to Salt, to attend the first Watad festival, a name chosen with care to evoke unity, in reference this verse from the Bible: “that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15: 6). Christians of all ages and denominations filled the large auditorium of the University. In the crowd were many with disabilities and illnesses, coming from far to listen to the two guests for this particular gathering: Egyptian Pastor Sameh Maurice and Father Makary Younan. The latter is a Coptic priest, who is one of the few exorcists among the 400 Coptic priests in the Egyptian capital. He is particularly recognized in the Middle East for his exorcist charism.

The festival opened with a concert followed by a prayer for Christian Unity proclaimed aloud by all the religious leaders present representing the many Churches:  “Lord Jesus Christ, on the night you died, you prayed that your disciples be united. You said, “I will come to you very soon, and bring joy. Here we come today, as a family, to ask you to bless this festival … Make us messengers of unity wherever we are, and instruments for your peace in Jordan, our beloved homeland, as well as in all countries of the Middle East and the world “. Bishop Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, Patriarch Emeritus Fouad Twal and Patriarch Melkite were among the personalities present for this Watad festival.

“All Ask of God,” is the message conveyed by Father Makary

In his testimony, Father Makary particularly emphasized the Faith that man should place in God’s hands to heal man’s weaknesses.  He then prayed for all the intentions of everyone in the crowd, collected in large baskets in forms of small notes. “All he says is that we can ask God for everything,” says a young Catholic from Madaba. “This crowd shows us the face of a society that suffers, thirsts, and needs to be healed by God” observes the Patriarch Emeritus.

The morning ended with a talk by Pastor Sameh Maurice who highlighted the immeasurable love of God. The Christians then all together recited the Our Father and Patriarch Emeritus Twal concluded this first part of the festival with a blessing. Finally, Bishop Shomali moved among the faithful to bless them with holy water.  The afternoon continued with a succession of different activities, between sports challenges for students and biblical rhymes for the children.

Claire Guigou