english.ahram.org.eg - As they look forward to Roman Catholic Pope Francis’s visit to Egypt this week, Egypt’s Catholics might also be pleased by the public attention now being given to their history
It was sometime around the mid-1940s that Christine used to frequent the offices of her father Louis in downtown Cairo. There she would run from one room to the other and even step out of the offices to find her way into a nearby pharmaceutical business where the later famous singer Dalida was then working as a typist.
“I loved Dalida. She was very beautiful, and she would smile at me and get me to sit on her knees and to type a little on her typewriter. Those were such different times,” Christine said. She was speaking after having attended mass at the St Joseph’s Church of the Franciscan Order of Egypt.
Situated off Mohamed Farid Street in downtown Cairo, the beautiful church was built in the early 20th century after the land was offered to the Franciscan monks by the state and money was made available by a rich family belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. It was also in this very church that Christine and her two sisters were baptised six or seven decades ago.
For over 100 years, according to Father Boutros Daniel, now the priest in charge at the church, St Joseph’s had had its days of glory. “They might have dwindled a bit now, as the community has got smaller, but we are still celebrating, especially since our choir will be joining Pope Francis in the mass he will hold during his visit to Egypt that starts on Friday,” he said.