Where Community Is Sacred

Editors’ note: British journalist Rosabel Crean traveled to Amman, Jordan, where she met with a Christian community of migrant workers and documented the trials and abuses they face in a land far from home, but also their joy and solace in finding strength in faith and community. Learn more about her experience in her audio report and read the full story in “Far From Home” in the March 2023 issue of ONE. A full transcript of the audio report follows.

It’s Sunday morning in Amman, a day that means something different for all the varied people living in this Middle Eastern country. For the majority of the population who are Muslim, it’s the start of the working week. It’s like Monday, and the roads are busy with cars and the streets filled with men and women on their way to work.

But for the minority, 3 percent of the population who are Christian, it’s the holiest day of the week, and it’s time to go to Mass if you can. I say if you can because not everyone can. Not everyone is allowed the day off. For the thousands of migrant workers here, including many women from the Philippines who work as housemaids and caregivers, an opportunity to leave the house and go to church with fellow members of your community is sacred.

I am standing outside St. Joseph Church. There’s a midday Mass going on for migrant workers. The congregation is mainly Filipino men and women, and the service is led by a priest from Sri Lanka. While Jordan is an Islamic country, I’m struck by the cohesion and space and interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

Christians are given space here, and Jordan’s position in the Holy Land is respected. Churches and mosques mingle across the city, and such cooperation is valuable to the Filipino women who regard churches as pockets of home, finding strength in the teachings of Christ when their work is hard, as it often is: long hours working night and day, cooking, cleaning, caring, sending their salaries back home to their families, thousands of miles away in the Philippines.

They keep nothing for themselves, but this precious time at church.

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