Christian pilgrimage to ‘Our Lady of the Mountain’ grotto in Anjara marked

Posted on Jun 26, 2015 – The Catholic Church in Jordan marked on Friday, June 19, the national Christian pilgrimage to the grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary ”Our Lady of the Mountain” in the town of Anjara, Ajloun Governorate, which has been regarded as one of the major Christian pilgrimage sites in Jordan since 2000.

Marking this anniversary, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal celebrated a ceremonial Mass. His homily focused on the need to trust in the Almighty God particularly at these critical times experienced by the Orient which are characterized by fear, pain, persecution, wars, displacement and tears.

He added: “Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Mountain, shed tears of blood in 2010 in sympathy with the Orient as if she was saying, ‘fear not’. After the ascension of Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven, the disciples formed a family united with Virgin Mary. This is the example we should follow after our pilgrimage today, namely to be united and to rally around our mother, Virgin Mary.”

Patriarch Twal also referred to the importance of maintaining the fraternal relations between the Muslims and Christians whose consolidation is attributed to the role undertaken by the Hashemite leadership. He also congratulated the Arab and Muslim nations on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan and recalled the message issued by the Vatican days ago titled, “Christians and Muslims: Together to counter violence perpetrated in the name of religion”.

On his part, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Mediain Aamman Fr. Rif’at Bader said that every year the Catholic Church in Jordan marks the national Christian pilgrimage to the grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary “Our Lady of the Mountain” in the town of Anjara, Ajloun Governorate. He noted that the grotto was built by the late Fr. Joseph Ne’mat, one of the priests from the Latin Patriarchate in the 1950s, as a sign of homage to the Virgin Mary.

Fr. Bader added that “according to traditions, Lord Jesus Christ and his mother arrived in the biblical town of Anjara where He along with His mother Mary and disciples spent the night in a cave near the town during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee. The Christian traditions also state that Jesus had delivered a sermon on the sacrament of marriage in this region. The pilgrimage to the grotto is marked in June every year”.

Prayers were said calling on the Almighty Lord to preserve peace and security in Jordan, and to restore peace in our suffering Arab countries, particularly those neighboring Jordan.

Present at Mass were Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Maroun Lahham, acting Apostolic Nuncio in Amman Monsignor Roberto Cuna, parish priest Fr. Hugo Alanis as well as Fr. Marwan Hassan and Fr. Samer Sawalhah who had been ordained priests the day before, a large number of believers, and public figures.

Anjara has been declared as one of Jordan’s five Christian pilgrimage sites along with Tell Mar Elias near Ajloun, Bethany on the Jordan River where Jesus Christ was baptized, Mount Nebo and Machaerus where John the Baptist was beheaded.