Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pope: Arab Christians need courage

The Mass that Benedict XVI celebrated today in the Amman International Stadium turned out to be a festival of faith for Jordanian Catholicism: Some 30,000 attended the event out of an estimated 109,000 Catholics in the nation.

The Pope exhorted the Middle Eastern Christians to stay in the Holy Land and give testimony to Jesus in this region so plagued by conflict. The Jordanian government decreed that today would be a vacation day for Christians -- normally Sunday is a workday in Jordan -- and stores and businesses followed suit.

"Fidelity to your Christian roots, fidelity to the Church's mission in the Holy Land, demands of each of you a particular kind of courage: the courage of conviction, born of personal faith, not mere social convention or family tradition; the courage to engage in dialogue and to work side by side with other Christians in the service of the Gospel and solidarity with the poor, the displaced, and the victims of profound human tragedies; the courage to build new bridges to enable a fruitful encounter of people of different religions and cultures, and thus to enrich the fabric of society," the Holy Father acknowledged.

And, he said, fidelity for Middle Eastern Christians also means "bearing witness to the love which inspires us to 'lay down' our lives in the service of others, and thus to counter ways of thinking which justify 'taking' innocent lives." MORE HERE

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