A Jesuit Pastor in Jordan: Fr. Kevin O'Connell on Being a "Foreign Worker"

IMG_0933Jesuit Father Kevin O’Connell came to Amman, Jordan 13 years ago to minister at the Sacred Heart Parish. Through an agreement between the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, a “personal parish” was established for English-speaking Roman Catholics residing in or visiting Amman. Fr. O’Connell, a scripture scholar with archaeological experience in the Middle East and a former college president, was appointed its first pastor.

Today, O’Connell finds himself ministering to a congregation that is largely compromised of Filipinos who live in Jordan as domestic workers. He recognizes the challenge of being foreigners working in a land very different from their own, as he is doing the same, and he helps provide spiritual support to them while they are far away from their families and homeland. “Suddenly, I found myself, with my Asian population, as a missionary here,” explains O’Connell. “I’ve had to develop this more welcoming attitude and I think it’s been good for me as a person. And that’s a Jesuit thing – we have to learn to adapt to the needs of the local community.”

In the video piece below, Fr. O’Connell discusses his ministry in Jordan:

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