The Teresian Association celebrated its centennial in Amman last Sunday, 13 November, with a thanksgiving Mass attended by around 550 people, many of them friends, supporters and benefactors of the Teresians. Since the first members arrived here in 1985, these supporters have journeyed with them, through thick and thin, and made their evangelizing presence grace-filled and meaningful.
The presider for the Mass at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church was His Beatitude Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Among the seven concelebrants were Bishop Selim Sayegh, patriarchal vicar for Jordan and a long time friend and spiritual father of the Teresians here in Amman; the pastor of the parish in Jabal Hussein, Father Rifat Bader; and Father Paul Mankowski, S.J., who celebrates Masses in English at several churches in Amman.
The highlight of the Mass was the inspiring and challenging talk of Patriarch Twal, who began by explaining the theme of this centennial, “From Grateful Memory to Renewed Commitment,” quoting the present president of the Teresians, Dr. Loreto Ballester, who said that the centenary not only makes members look back at the past with gratitude, but also commit for the future. Furthermore, he noted that the charism of the Teresians is not meant to be kept, but is meant to be given in service to others.
The patriarch underlined three points: the vision that St. Pedro Poveda, the association’s founder, had received about the role of the laity in the church and in society 50 years before Vatican II; the importance of education for social transformation; and the lives of the early Christians as our role models. In line with the ideals of Pedro Poveda, he saw that to be modern today is to go back 2000 years and learn how these first Christians loved one another — how they were united and shared their material goods.
When talking of the “New Evangelization” called for by Pope Benedict XVI, he said that “new” refers to the context in which we live today. We live side by side with people from many races, cultures and religions, and this new scenario challenges us to be strong in our faith and to have a greater sense of belonging to the church and to this land. Finally, he reiterated his gratitude for what the Teresians do in Amman, Jerusalem and in the Holy Land as a whole.
The whole liturgy — animated by the wonderful performance of the Sacred Heart English Language Parish Choir — made this event a memorable day. To learn more about the community, visit their website (old/broken link: https://www.institucionteresiana.org/asp_en/IT.asp). Or read about their work in the Holy Land feeding mind and spirit.