Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’

Jesuit Has Hopes for the Society of Jesus’ Future in Iraq

Jesuit Father Michael LindenJesuit Father Michael Linden, superior of the Jesuits in Jordan, has a challenging job. Living at the Jesuit Center in Jordan, he is responsible for exploring ways for the “restoration” of the Society of Jesus in Iraq.

The Jesuits arrived in Bagdad in 1932 to establish and run Baghdad College, which was staffed entirely by the New England Province Jesuits. In 1959, the Jesuits founded a second school there, Al Hikma University.

However, Fr. Linden explains that “American Jesuits were given short notice to leave, in two separate waves, in 1968 and 1969. Both schools eventually were wrapped into the state system of schools, and the U.S. Jesuits and the few Iraqi Jesuits filtered to other parts of the Near East or repatriated to the U.S.”

Fr. Linden says that many in Iraq remember the schools fondly and favorably. “There are good and supportive persons, Christians and Muslims, secularists and devout, who express hope and welcome to the Jesuits,” he says.

If the Jesuits return to Iraq, Fr. Linden says it’s hard to predict the nature of the Jesuit presence. “Some would like the U.S. Jesuits to parachute with a full Jesuit staff and system from the 1950’s back to Baghdad College. Some believe this is possible!”

According to Fr. Linden, Jesuits in Amman have learned that faith formation and service to migrant workers is important, as is close collaboration on the pastoral goals of the local bishops. “This can probably be replicated in Iraq,” he says.

Fr. Linden also believes Iraq has vocation potential. “Iraqi Christians are a giving people, and there will be Jesuit vocations from Iraq. These Iraqi Jesuits will eventually make the major discernment about their identity and work; perhaps it will include schools, perhaps not.”

Read the full interview with Fr. Linden in the April 2013 issue of JIVAN: News and Views of Jesuits in India and learn more at the New England Province Jesuits website. In the video below, Fr. Linden explains the ministries of the Jesuits in Jordan as well as their elation at the recent election of a Jesuit to the papacy.

New Superior Announced for the Jesuits in Jordan and Iraq

Jesuit Father Michael Linden has been appointed by Father General Adolfo Nicolas as the new Superior of the Jesuits in Jordan and Iraq. Fr. Linden brings to this unique position years of service in Jamaica, work with the Jesuit Refugee Service, and long experience as the Provincial Assistant for International Ministries in the New England Province office.

He will continue in this role while overseeing the work of the Jesuit Center in Amman and coordinating with the Jesuits of the Near East Province to explore ways in which the New England Province can help in meeting their needs and in working together in this area. Linden succeeds Jesuit Father Al Hicks, who has served the province and the church in Jordan and Iraq as superior for the past eight years.

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:

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: