Page 4 of 4

image Click for more images

Established in 1927 by an Italian missionary association, the hospital – known locally as the “hospital of the poor” – provides medical services at little or no charge and a hospice for the infirm and dying.

Every Wednesday morning, more than a hundred people patiently wait near the emergency room to see a social worker, a nursing sister and a doctor. Many are Iraqi refugees: expectant mothers, sick children, diabetics and the physically handicapped. The patients are asked to pay half the doctors nominal fee, while the Pontifical Mission takes care of the additional expenses, including medicines.

Bishop Selim, a compassionate man with tremendous drive, started a modest income-generating project several years ago. With olive wood beads from Bethlehem and medals and crucifixes from Italy, Iraqi refugee families make rosaries, which are sent to Catholics in the United States. About a hundred destitute Iraqi families now earn enough money to buy groceries and pay rent.

Ironically, Jordans Christian bedouin village life is threatened by the temptations of the economic and social opportunities found in Amman. The Pontifical Mission has responded by supporting village projects, such as the creation of an experimental olive orchard and livestock farm in Smakieh. Nevertheless, caring for those who have left behind their family and culture for the glamour of the city remains a pastoral challenge for the Pontifical Mission.

Although Jordan rarely makes international headlines, for 50 years it has been a refuge and haven for people affected by war and poverty throughout the region. The staff of the Pontifical Mission in Amman, with self-effacing dedication, strives to stabilize a population in flux by supporting needy children, providing education and offering health care.

Post a Comment | Comments(0)

Michael J.L. La Civita is Executive Editor of Catholic Near East.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Tags: Refugees Children Jordan Education Health Care