In Roman times the area was named after the Roman word for ‘dusty’, the surroundings being very dry, sandy desert. Zarqa, first established as a military base, was an important training area for the army with many barracks and depots. With the arrival of the military, many people came from the north of the country in search of employment and to start businesses. With the signing of the Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel in 1994 and the ending of Military National Service at the same time, the importance of these bases declined. Now many of the sites once occupied by these establishments have been sold for development both residential and commercial. Recently a large new Government University has been built on the outskirts of the city, on the road to Mafraq.
Over the years there has been immigration into the area by refugees from other Arab countries. They settled in ‘camps’, which have developed into more permanent buildings across the districts of the city.
In this mainly middle to low-income area, with both skilled and unskilled workers, there is a high level of unemployment. Unfortunately, although food prices are reasonably low, the cost of living is rising rapidly due to the increase in the price of oil.
Out of a population of 1,000,000, about 20,000 are Christian and of these only 8000 are Latin Catholics.
The Latin Patriarchate Parish/ School:
The parish was established in 1956. The first priest was Father Mario Furlan, an Italian who was responsible for the foundation of a small Kindergarten. This was in one room, on the ground floor of a house, with accommodation for the priest above.
In 1963, with the financial help of the German Lieutenancy, a new church was built. At the same time the Kindergarten moved to new buildings across the street. The present school buildings were enlarged, by the construction of three floors and other extensions, between 1962 and 1970.
With the construction of the new school, the original Kindergarten rooms became a room for parish meetings with two offices adjacent, the first floor providing accommodation for the priests. In 1990 a new convent for the Rosary Sisters was constructed on the opposite side of the playground.
The present school building has twenty-three classrooms with a library and science laboratory. On the ground floor, in addition to the rooms for grades one and two, there is a small room for art and the office for the Principal. Grades three to five are in classrooms on the next floor with a computer laboratory containing 40 computers, used by all grades, and a poorly stocked library. The science laboratory, with hardly any equipment, is on the top floor. This room is also used by the Muslim students for lessons in religion. In addition there are classrooms for grades six and seven and a small room for the staff. There is also a room for music. First used in 1999, its only instrument is a small portable electric organ.
The classes are mixed up to the seventh grade, the following 8th and 9th being for girls only. The school has a staff consisting of two priests, three Sisters, one Principal who is female, four Administrative Assistants with thirty-five teachers, five male and thirty female, of whom six are Post graduate, twenty five BA graduate and six Diploma. Of all these, thirty are Christian and five Muslim. There are twenty-three classes in the Main School and five in the Kindergarten. On roll there is a total on 845 students, 477 female and 368 male, 677 Christian and 168 Muslim.
Across the narrow street from the school entrance, is an excellent medical centre, run by nuns, who are catering for the many needs of the community. They also have a workshop for sewing, embroidery and the making of vestments which are sold from their small shop.
Zarqa North: Twelve Apostles
Pastor: Rev. Elie Kurzum, S.C.J.
Rev. Butros Hijazeen, S.C.J.
Rev. Iyad Bader, S.C.J
13110 Zarqa North
Tel: (05) 393 09 10
Fax: (05) 396 60 80
077 787 53 45 ( Fr. Elie)
077 905 09 23 ( Fr. Boutros)