“Baba Francis, Baba Francis, ahla wa sahla fi Amman”… Those were the words of the song that welcomed the Pope for hours before he arrived.
We went first to the Royal cultural center that was very busy with local and international journalists, including a group from LBC lead by Bassam Abou Zeid. They covered the tourism minister (talk).
The stadium was not full, even at the arrival of the pope. Religious songs and speeches previewed the event with giant screens facing the crowd.
A quick walk around showed that the Lebanese were present with the cedar flag, as always as everywhere. We have been told later that they used to come in bigger numbers.
The decrease in number is probably due to the war in Syria, which makes the trip by plane more expensive and even not affordable for many families and individuals. Still, Lebanese flags were all over the place.
The event was very well organized, a bit calm for what we are used to see in Lebanon when we receive a pope.
As we know, Christians are a minority in Jordan, around 5% of the whole population. Palestinians didn’t show up in big numbers because they were expecting the pope in their holy land.
Just after the Announcement that the pope will shortly arrive, helicopters started flying over us, for security reasons.
Again, the special Jordanian song for the pope was heard.
A loud welcome from all the crowd, a smooth wind blew and an angel appeared on earth. He came in a convertible special car, waving to all and smiling like a real father does to his children. What a heavenly feeling. Pope Francis who follows the steps of saint Francis by his humbleness is among us, just couple of meters away from us. I had tears in my eyes.
He went through the stadium for around 20 minutes before he started the mass. A calm mass that took around one hour and thirty minutes including the communion of all adults and the hundreds of children taking their first communion as well.
God bless all the Christians in the Middle East, may they be protected and may they never disappear from this holy part of the planet.