October 2015 - Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn


October 2015 - Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
Maronite Voice
A Publication of the Maronite Eparchies in the USA
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
October 2015
The Visit of the Relics of Saint Sharbel
ust recently we were all blessed with the
pastoral visit to the United States of His
Holiness Pope Francis. Pope Francis has
encouraged us all to seek out those in need of
God's mercy and salvation and to draw them closer.
We are now being blessed with the visit of the
relics of Saint Sharbel. This can be an opportunity
to seek out those very people spoken of by Pope
Francis and to bring them back into the life of the
The veneration of holy relics has a long history in
the Church. Early Christians often took the bodies
of those who were martyred, burying them with
dignity. Often the sites of their burials became
shrines, and the items associated with them, as well
as their very bodies, were held in great esteem.
Tradition tells us that St. Polycarp, a disciple of St.
John the Apostle and a bishop, was killed in the
city of Smyrna (modern day Izmir, Turkey) around
the year 155 A.D. Very quickly Christians began
to try to just touch his body since he was
considered to be such a holy man. We know of
many more instances of veneration of the relics of the martyrs
and saints in the history of the Church. Even in the time of
the Old Testament there are accounts of the relics of the holy
ones. There is the story of the Prophet Elisha's body being a
source of God's grace (2 Kings 13:21). When the Israelites
left the captivity of Egypt, they carried with them the bones
of their ancestor Joseph (Exodus 13:19); they were held in
great esteem.
Of course, it is always important to remember that the relics
of the saints are not some type of talisman (lucky trinkets) or
magic objects. In and of themselves they do not have
supernatural power - it is only through the power of God.
Special relics are the actual bodily remains of someone who
is in heaven. Since we are all part of the Communion of
Saints, in a very real and tangible way these relics are a
connection to those now in heaven that we believe are
praying for us here on earth. The Catechism of the Catholic
Church notes:
"We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ,
those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being
purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one
Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful
love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers"
(CCC 962).
From October through January the relics of our beloved St.
Sharbel, the Holy Monk of Lebanon, will be traveling to our
parishes. The relics will then visit parishes of the Eparchy of
Saint Maron. This event can be an opportunity for all the
faithful to revitalize their faith in God and their connection to
the Maronite Church. It is an opportunity for spiritual
renewal. The relics can be a channel of God's grace to His
As most of you know, St. Sharbel is widely known and
honored in his native land. He is also venerated throughout
the world. Among the people of Mexico, the name San
Charbel is recognized with great devotion. Our parishes in
the United States have a strong devotion to St. Sharbel as
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatification of
St. Sharbel at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council
in December of 1965. This holy monk of Lebanon, St.
Sharbel, is an example of how prayer and silence can bring us
closer to God.
(Continues on page 20)
Schedule of Bishop Elias Zaidan
October 3 - 4, 2015
Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon Cathedral, Los Angeles, Calif.
October 5, 2015
In Defense of Christians (IDC) Meeting with Religious Leaders in Los Angeles,
October 7 - 12, 2015
Host to His Excellency Paul Mattar, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut, Lebanon
October 10, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Mission Annual Banquet, Simi Valley, Calif.
October 11, 2015
Visit to St. Jude Church, West Covina, Calif.
October 18, 2015
St. Raymond Cathedral, St. Louis, Mo.
October 25, 2015
St. Raymond Cathedral, St. Louis, Mo.
October 28 - 29, 2015
Visit of St. Sharbel’s Relics, St. Elias Church, Birmingham, Ala.
October 30 - November 1, 2015
Maronite Young Adults (MYA) Annual Workshop, Anaheim, Calif.
November 2 - 3, 2015
Visit of St. Sharbel’s Relics, St. Raymond Cathedral, St. Louis, Mo.
November 7 - 8, 2015
Pastoral Visit to St. Sharbel Church, Peoria, Ill.
November 10, 2015
Caritas Lebanon-USA, Board of Directors Meeting, St. Louis, Mo. ”
Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Open House
by Natalie Salameh
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light hosted an Open House on Sunday,
September 12, 2015, in celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. In calling for
this year, Pope Francis is counting on religious "to wake up the world" by their
radical witness of Gospel living and Christ's merciful compassion.
The Sisters were pleased to welcome over seventy guests to their convent in
Dartmouth, Mass., for a presentation on religious life, refreshments and the cake
cutting to celebrate Sr. Therese Maria's graduation from Boston College with a
Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry.
The guests were first introduced to the Chapel of Saint Maron, which was the
highlight of the tour. Then they proceeded to the sunroom, which was set up as a
display area featuring a video and powerpoint presentation, where Sister Therese
Maria explained the Maronite Servant mission. The guests then walked down to
the Kadisha Shrine and prayer area, where they offered a decade of the Rosary for
the intention of vocations.
Dedicated volunteers served refreshments in the outdoor area, where the guests
and friends could sit back and enjoy each other's company. The Maronite Servants
of Christ the Light would like to invite you to visit. Please call and arrange for a
visit or a day of retreat at (508) 996-1753.
"Religious life ought to promote growth in the church by way of attraction. The
church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of
doing things, of acting, of living! . . . It is this witness that I expect of you.
Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up," said
Pope Francis. ”
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
The Maronite Voice
4611 Sadler Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Phone: 804/270-7234
Fax: 804/273-9914
E-Mail: [email protected]
The Maronite Voice, (ISSN 10809880) the official newsletter of the
Maronite Eparchies in the U.S.A.
(Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of
Los Angeles and Eparchy of Saint
Maron of Brooklyn), is published
Send all changes of address, news,
pictures and personal
correspondence to The Maronite
Voice at the above captioned
address. Subscription rates are
$25.00 per year. Advertising rates
are available upon request.
• Most Reverend Bishop Gregory
John Mansour
• Most Reverend Elias Zaidan,
Msgr. George M. Sebaali
Editing and proofreading
Mary Shaia
Printed in Richmond, Virginia.
Maronite Convention 2016
Our Lady of Lebanon Church
San Francisco, California
July 6 - 10, 2016
For more information
contact the NAM office
at (914) 964-3070
or visit www.Namnews.org
Page 2
October 2015
• Rev. Pierre El Albalaa, M.L.M., from Pastor of Our Lady
of Lebanon Church in Lombard, Ill., to Pastor of St. Joseph
Maronite Mission in Riverside, California, effective
December 1, 2015
Fairlawn, Ohio
Diaconate Ordination
• Rev. Deacon Alex Harb to assist the pastor of St. Maron
Church in Cleveland, Ohio, effective October 1, 2015.
Eparchy of Saint Maron
is Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop of the
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, has made the
following eparchial assignments effective on
November 1, 2015:
• Rev. Alexander Joseph from Administrator of Our Lady
of Lebanon Church in Waterbury, Conn., to Temporary
Administrator of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Worcester,
• Rev. Joseph Khoueiri from Pastor of St. George Church
in Dover, N.H., to Pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon Church
in Waterbury, Conn.
n August 16, 2015, in the Church of Our Lady of the
Cedars of Mt. Lebanon in Fairlawn [Akron], Ohio,
Bishop A. Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our
Lady of Lebanon, ordained Subdeacon Alexander Harb to the
diaconate. Three hundred people were in attendance
including parishioners, friends and family of Deacon Alex,
Knights of Columbus, a dozen religious sisters, two
seminarians, and approximately fifteen clergy. Bishop Zaidan
challenged the listeners to cast their nets for souls and to each
bring at least one person to God, and described the duty of a
deacon as being of service to the table of the Eucharist and
the table of the poor. Following the liturgy, a Louisianathemed dinner was served in honor of Deacon Alex's home
state, and hymns were sung by two of the children of the
parish. Deacon Alex, in his remarks, described the
vulnerability and self-sacrifice of Christian love that the
diaconate called him to take up. He thanked the parish for
their support in preparation for the diaconate and the
priesthood. ”
• Rev. Tony Saab as Parochial Vicar of St. George Church
in Dover, N.H., and St. Anthony Church in Lawrence,
Mass. Father Saab is from the Eparchy of Jebeil, Lebanon,
and this is his first assignment in our Eparchy.
Eparchial Assignments
• Rev. Fadi Rouhana as Pastoral Administrator of Our
Lady of Purgatory Church, New Bedford, Mass. Father
Rouhana is from the Eparchy of Jbeil, Lebanon, and this is
his first assignment in our Eparchy.
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
is Excellency Bishop A. Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, has
announced the following eparchial assignments:
• Msgr. Peter Azar as Administrator of Saint George
Church in Dover, N.H., while retaining his current
assignment as Pastor of St. Anthony Church in Lawrence,
• Rev. Jack Morrison from Pastor of Our Lady of
Purgatory Church in New Bedford, Mass., to
Administrator of Mary, Mother of the Light Mission in
Tequesta [Palm Beach], Fla.
• Rev. Alaa Issa from Administrator of Mary, Mother of the
Light Mission in Tequesta, Fla., to Administrator of St.
Ann Church in Troy, N.Y., and Parochial Vicar of St.
Louis Gonzaga Church in Utica, N.Y.
• Rev. Deacon Jean Mattar as Financial Administrator at
Our Lady of Purgatory Church, New Bedford, Mass.
• Rev. Christopher Fabre as Administrator of St. Sharbel
Maronite Church in Portland, Ore., effective October 1,
• Rev. Elias Khalil from Administrator at St. Ann Church
in Troy, N.Y., to Administrator of St. Sharbel Mission in
Raleigh, N.C.
• Rev. Pierre El Khoury, M.L.M. from Parochial Vicar at
Our Lady of the Cedars Church, Houston, Tex., to Pastor
of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Lombard
[Chicago], Ill., effective October 1, 2015
• Rev. Elie Mikhael from Administrator of St. Sharbel
Mission in Raleigh, N.C., to the first Administrator to the
Maronite Community in Charlotte, N.C.
• Rev. George Saab, CM as Administrator of Our Lady of
Lebanon Maronite Church in Norman, Oklahoma,
effective October 1, 2015
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
• Rev. Gaby Hoyek of Our Lady of Mercy Church in
Worcester, Mass., has been granted a leave of absence by
his Bishop, Most Reverend A. Elias Zaidan. ”
Issue No. IX
Page 3
October 2015
Springfield, Massachusetts
Deacon’s Silver Anniversary
From Left: Deacons Donald Philip and Steven Marcus, Fr.
Donatus Ironuma, Deacons Joseph Garde, Terry O'Connell,
Leo Coughlin and Norman Hannoush.
by Kathy Labella
n September 13, 2015, Deacon Terry O'Connell, along
with family, friends and fellow parishioners,
celebrated his 25th Diaconate Anniversary in the
Maronite Church at St. Anthony Maronite Church in
Springfield, Mass. Several priests and deacons celebrated
the Liturgy, followed by a reception in The Cedars Hall
catered by the Women's Guild.
Terry, an Irish Roman Catholic, was given the privilege
of bi-ritual faculties, but his affection for the Lebanese people
inspired him to serve in the Maronite rite. His first
introduction to Maronite customs and traditions was in his
early twenties when his sister married a Lebanese Maronite.
Family gatherings and events revolved around the Maronite
Church. When Terry's mother moved to Torrington, Conn.,
she attended the neighborhood church, which happened to be
St. Maron Maronite Church. Terry's regular visits to see his
mother included attending liturgy as well as teaching
religious education to the children of the parish. His interest
to serve became stronger, and in 1985 Bishop Francis M.
Zayek ordained him as a subdeacon. Commuting back and
forth to Torrington became difficult, so Terry decided to
worship locally at St. Anthony Maronite Church in
Springfield. It was here that Terry met Fr. John Korkmaz in
1985 and began his service to the Maronite community.
Initially, Terry assisted Fr. Korkmaz in various activities,
accompanying the priest on visitations to the sick, wakes, and
funerals, as well as training altar boys and writing weekly
bulletins. Terry said, "I felt a call to serve the Maronite
Church more fully." In 1988, he started the process to
become a deacon in the Maronite Church. For approximately
two years, Terry commuted to Danbury, Conn., under the
tutelage of Fr. Ron Beshara to learn about Maronite theology
and history. Fr. Korkmaz completed Terry's diaconate
education by training him in the customs and traditions of the
Maronite Church. He said, "You want to be a good deacon,
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Terry. The way to be a good deacon is not by books, but to
be with the people when they are sick, in sorrow and when
they die." These words from his beloved Fr. Korkmaz have
been the motto Terry has always lived by. On September 9,
1990, Terry finished his diaconate training and he was the
first deacon ordained on the altar of St. Anthony Maronite
Church in Springfield by Bishop Zayek.
Terry's journey to become a deacon has been a long and
arduous one. He earned numerous degrees in education,
including a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Certificate of
Advanced Graduate Studies Degree from A.I.C. In addition
to his Maronite diaconate training, Terry also trained in the
Roman rite, which did not have a diaconate program in the
Springfield Diocese at that time. He attended St. Thomas
Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., and completed a four-year
program in 1974. Terry continued his studies at St. Joseph
University in W. Hartford, Conn., where he received a
Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology in 1995. He also
attended Boston College and earned a Masters Degree in
Theological Studies in 2010, driving to Boston every week to
attend night classes, while working during the day in the
Springfield Public Schools.
Terry's achievements were accomplished while he was
raising three children (Christopher, Michael and Brien) with
his wife, Helen, and working as a teacher in the Springfield
Public Schools. He said, "This would not have been possible
without the love and support of my loving wife, whom I've
been married to for forty-eight wonderful years." Terry's
family also includes three beautiful grandchildren (Katie,
McKenzie and Liam).
Terry's full time tenure at St. Anthony ended when he
experienced severe health issues and was assigned lighter
duties. Presently, he continues to administer to the sick and
homebound of the parish, and he also serves as a chaplain for
the Sisters of Providence Health Systems. He was a past
chaplain of Mercy Hospital. The parishioners of St. Anthony
Maronite Church feel so fortunate to have Deacon Terry in
their lives. As his family, they are so proud of him and so
happy to be celebrating this important milestone with him.
Terry summarized what it meant to be a Maronite deacon by
saying, "I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God for giving me
the grace to serve the Maronite Church and her people." ”
Deadline for next month’s issue
of The Maronite Voice is October
25, 2015.
The Maronite Voice is the
official newsletter of the Eparchy
of Our Lady of Lebanon and of
the Eparchy of Saint Maron.
Send all changes of address, news, pictures and personal
correspondence to:
The Maronite Voice
4611 Sadler Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
Phone: (804) 270-7234; Fax: (804) 273-9914
Email: [email protected]
Pictures must be original. Digital pictures must be in
“JPG” format and in high resolution. The Maronite Voice is
also available online, in PDF format, at www.stmaron.org. ”
Issue No. IX
Page 4
October 2015
Waterbury, Conn., and Providence, R.I.
Special guests were members of Monsignor's family who
traveled from Lebanon for the event, including his sister
Chantal, a Catholic nun in the Order of St. Basil, his brother
Maurice and his niece Mirella El-Khalli.
The next day, on Sunday, May 17, Monsignor El-Khalli
celebrated his first Liturgy as a Monsignor in the presence of
both Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour and Melkite Bishop
Nicholas Samra and hundreds of parishioners and friends.
Monsignor El-Khalli delivered an inspiring and eloquent
homily explaining what true Christian and unconditional love
is all about.
The weekend festivities concluded with a sumptuous
luncheon buffet offered by the parish. The many out-of-town
guests who stayed for the full weekend were feted at the
buffet along with parishioners and friends present.
The parishioners of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon
Church proudly salute their pastor, Monsignor Georges Y.
El-Khalli, Ph.D., upon this memorable occasion and look
forward to his spiritual guidance and leadership for many
years to come. ”
Boston, Massachusetts
Elevation to Monsignor
Raleigh, North Carolina
Subdiaconate Ordination
by Judge Kenneth Nassif
he weekend of May 16 -17 of 2015 was a memorable
and joyous time for the Maronites of Boston, Mass.,
and for the parish of Our Lady of the Cedars of
Lebanon Church.
On Saturday, May 16, Father Georges Y. El-Khalli,
Pastor, was elevated to the dignity of Periodeut with the rank
of Monsignor. A pontifical Qurbono (Liturgy) took place
that day, presided over by His Excellency Bishop Gregory J.
Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn.
Participating in the ceremony were Bishop Nicholas Samra,
the Bishop of the Melkite Eparchy in the United States, as
well as seven Maronite priests and several deacons and
At the ceremony, Bishop Mansour, in accordance with
Maronite tradition, performed the "Rite of Imposition of
Hands" upon Father El-Khalli. More than four hundred
Maronites and others were in attendance to witness the
elevation and attended the Grand Banquet which followed at
the luxurious Lantana's Banquet Facility. Among the
attendees were former parishioners from other communities
and Churches that Monsignor El-Khalli has previously
served, including Los Angeles, Calif., Buffalo, N.Y., and
Atlanta, Ga. Many clergy also attended, representing
Maronite parishes from Fall River, New Bedford, Brockton,
Worcester, Springfield, and Lawrence, Mass., As well as
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Chorbishop Michael Thomas ordains Claude Shiver to the
Order of Subdeacon.
n Sunday, August 9, 2015, at St. Sharbel Mission,
Raleigh N.C., Chorbishop Michael Thomas, Vicar
General, assisted by other clergy, ordained Claude B.
Shiver to the Order of Subdeacon. Influenced by the great
faith and dedication of his in-laws, Joseph and Rose
El-Khouri, whose roots were deeply planted in the mountains
of Lebanon, Claude was inspired by the Church and its
spiritual beauty. Many years ago he and his wife, Marsha,
along with their sons, Michael and Thomas, became faithful
servants of St. Sharbel Mission. Looking to the future of the
St. Sharbel Mission became paramount in Claude's entry into
the diaconate program.
Many of the El-Khouri family traveled to Raleigh to
support and to witness this long-awaited and blessed
occasion. Claude and his family were honored with a banquet
reception following the service. ”
Issue No. IX
Page 5
October 2015
appeared on the 50th anniversary because a rainbow had
occurred on the first pilgrimage as well. The candlelight
procession accompanied by the magnificent choir was
inspirational. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks
display illuminating the sky; it was breathtaking. It was
another wonderful year full of momentous experiences.
Thank you to everyone involved. ”
Saint Louis, Missouri
Annual Assumption Pilgrimage
Still River, Massachusetts
Farewell Brother Gregory
rother Gregory Conant, O.S.B.,
died peacefully on July 23, 2015,
at Saint Benedict Abbey, Still
River, Massachusetts, after a lengthy
Brother Gregory was an avid writer
of verse.
He collaborated with
Monsignor Mansour Labaky and
Father Cyril Karam in creating the
Maronite hymnal Cedars of Lebanon,
published in 1982. Brother Gregory,
adapting Father Cyril's English translations of the original
Syriac hymns, put them into rhyme and meter, which
Monsignor Labaky then set to music. For several decades
after the hymnal's publication, Brother Gregory's lyrics were
heard in English speaking countries around the world and are
still heard today.
Brother Gregory will be greatly missed by all who loved
his child-like simplicity and enjoyed engaging him in
conversation. His funeral took place in the monastic chapel
of Saint Benedict Abbey on July 30, followed by his burial
on the Abbey grounds. We ask anyone who reads this to
please pray for Brother Gregory's eternal rest. ”
by Shelly Vitale
he parishioners of St. Raymond Maronite Cathedral, in
St. Louis, Mo., joined Bishop Emeritus Robert J.
Shaheen for their annual pilgrimage to the Basilica and
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon for the Feast of the
Assumption August 12 - 16, 2015. During the bus ride,
everyone engaged in prayer, laughter, inspirational movies
and snacks. Five new pilgrims attended this year and were
greeted with love and warmth. The St. Raymond group is
very welcoming and united.
The pilgrims arrived to the Shrine eager to participate in
the many spiritual activities. They attended Mass daily,
including the Maronite Divine Liturgy and the Anointing of
the Sick, during which hundreds of pilgrims received the holy
oil from Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of
Saint Maron; Bishop Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the Eparchy of
Our Lady of Lebanon; and Bishop Emeritus Robert J.
Shaheen. The Shrine looked beautiful and inviting. The
pilgrims of St. Raymond were delighted to see a portrait of
Bishop Robert hanging in the Grand Hallway which leads to
the Shrine. This is truly a place of honor for him as his
portrait is positioned next to the late Archbishop Francis
Zayek. Bishop Robert has attended the Feast of the
Assumption for forty-nine years missing only one pilgrimage.
Father Gary George, CSsR, along with Bishop Shaheen,
took the St. Raymond pilgrims for a spiritual trip to local
Catholic churches in the Youngstown area. Everyone was
able to pray, meditate and experience the beauty and history
of the holy dwellings. They ended the tour at the lovely
Fellows Rose Garden for lunch and more meditation.
Bishop Shaheen always makes sure his parish family is
fed spiritually and nutritionally. Each evening at the hotel, he
graciously provided his parishioners with an array of
wonderful foods and desserts. This gave them time to
converse and wind down.
The Maronite Pontifical Liturgy took place on Saturday,
August 15, with the three Bishops as celebrants. Rain
showers did not ruin the beautiful evening. Pilgrims looked
up toward the beautiful statue of Our Lady and noticed a
tremendous rainbow arching above her. Monsignor Anthony
Spinosa, Rector, stated that it was fitting the rainbow
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Fall River, Massachusetts
Full Summer
by Shannon Martin
he St. Anthony of the Desert Parish in Fall River, Mass.,
has had a full summer of fun events! Starting with a clam
Issue No. IX
Page 6
October 2015
boil in July and followed by a chow mein dinner and Paint
Night in August, the parishioners came together to
successfully raise money for the Church while having some
fun. These events were all fundraisers for the Parish and were
greatly supported by family and friends. The parish events
committee thanks all for their participation and continued
support. ”
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Church Anniversary
Springfield, Massachusetts
Annual Festival
n Sunday, September 20, 2015, following the Divine
Liturgy, The Ladies Guild of St. Michael the
Archangel Parish in Fayetteville, N.C., hosted a
luncheon in celebration of both the 41st Anniversary of the
establishment of the Parish and the 31st Anniversary of Fr.
Sam Najjar's ordination to the priesthood. With Fr. Najjar’s
birthday just a couple of weeks away, the parish took the
opportunity to sing "Happy Birthday," led by the youth of the
parish. ”
by Kathy LaBella
n August 29, 2015, St. Anthony Maronite Church in
Springfield, Mass., held the third annual Lebanese
Festival in its new pavilion. Mayor Dominic Sarno,
community members, and parishioners enjoyed Lebanese
cuisine, pastries and breads made on the saj. Children
participated in games and activities like face painting and
bounce houses while people danced to live music by Amin
Sultan and Ensemble. ”
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Mother’s Day
Torrington, Connecticut
Pasta Dinner
n what has become an annual Mother's Day tradition at
Heart of Jesus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the fathers of
the parish treat all the mothers to a wonderful meal. After
the Sunday Mass, the men prepare, cook and serve the food.
They even take care of all the clean-up. Again this year there
was a great turnout and the food was delicious. It was a great
day for the families of the parish. ”
aint Maron Church, Torrington, Conn., held its Pasta
Dinner on September 19, 2015, in the church hall.
Many thanks to all who worked hard to make this event
a success, as well as to all who came and supported their
church by enjoying a delicious meal. ”
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
Page 7
October 2015
Being proactive and promoting the Year of Registration
passionately in order to motivate people to act,
highlighting our objective: Preserving Diversity In
Referring people to register.
If you are already a Lebanese citizen, refer at least two
eligible families to register their births in Lebanon; fill out
the form on the following page:
http://www.clfw.org/registration-requests.html . You will be
helping preserve our heritage and preserve Lebanon. ”
The Year of Registration
Help Preserve Our Heritage by Preserving
Diversity in Lebanon. Claim Your
Lebanese Citizenship! This is Your Right.
Do not Give it Up.
by Nada Salem Abisamra, Director
he Christian Lebanese Foundation in the World
(CLFW) and Project Roots have announced September
2015 - September 2016 as the Year of Registration in
This endeavor was endorsed by all bishops, Lebanese
American clubs and organizations, and representatives of
Lebanese political parties in the U.S. You can show your
endorsement by:
Posting our flyer on your website, in social media, in
bulletins, in newsletters and all publications, at events
including picnics and festivals, etc.
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
Page 8
October 2015
Eparchial Condolences
Schedule of Bishop Gregory Mansour
Bishop Georges
Abi-Saber, O.L.M.,
Bishop Emeritus of the
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Montreal,
Canada, passed away on August 26,
2015, in Lebanon. Bishop Abi-Saber
was born in Wadi Sette, Lebanon, and
was ordained a priest on July 16,
1952. He was appointed Bishop of the
Eparchy of Lattaquié, Syria, on August 4, 1977, and ordained
Bishop on November 14, 1977. He was appointed Bishop of
the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Montreal on November 23,
1990, and resigned from his position on February 7, 1996, for
having reached the canonical age.
Archbishop Maroun Khoury Sader,
Archbishop Emeritus of the Maronite
Archeparchy of Tyr, Lebanon, died on
August 26, 2015, in Lebanon.
Archbishop Sader was born in Ain Ebel,
Lebanon, on December 25, 1926, and
was ordained a priest on May 11, 1952.
He was appointed Bishop of the
Archeparchy of Tyr on June 1, 1992,
and resigned from his position on
September 23, 2003, for having reached the canonical age.
Bishop Gregory Mansour, along with the clergy and faithful
of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, and Bishop A.
Elias Zaidan, along with the clergy and faithful of the
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon extend their heartfelt
sympathy and the promise of our prayers to His Beatitude
Patriarch Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai; to the Maronite Synod
of Bishops; to Bishop Marwan Tabet of Canada; to
Archbishop Chucrallah-Nabil El-Hage, Bishop of Tyr; and to
Bishops Abi-Saber and Sader’s families and relatives.
May the Lord God grant his servants Georges and
Maroun eternal rest in His Kingdom and consolation to their
families and loved ones. ”
Bandar Kayrouz, the mother of Fr. Antoine Kayrouz,
Administrator of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Maronite
Mission in Darlington [Pittsburgh], Penn., passed away on
Saturday, September 19, 2015, in Lebanon. She is survived
by her husband, Melhem; her children, Nageib, Fr. Antoine,
John and his family; Jeanette and Najat; her brother Deeb and
her sisters, Khazoun, Saleemeh and Safa.
The funeral service took place on Sunday, September 20,
2015, at St. Sharbel Church in Adonis, Jounieh, Lebanon. Fr.
Antoine was able to travel to Lebanon to be with his family
for the funeral.
Condolences may be sent to Fr. Antoine Kayrouz, c/o:
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Maronite Mission, 3357
Constitution Blvd., Darlington, PA 16115.
Bishop Gregory Mansour along with the clergy and
faithful of the Eparchy of Saint Maron extend their heartfelt
sympathy and the promise of our prayers to Fr. Antoine and
his family.
May the Lord God grant Bandar eternal rest in His
Kingdom and consolation to her family and loved ones. ”
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
October 2 - 4, 2015
Deacons and Subdeacons Retreat, Washington, D.C.
October 6, 2015
S.A.V.E. - O.N.E. Banquet, Williamsville [Buffalo],
October 7 - 9, 2015
Host to Bishop Samir Nassar, Maronite Bishop of
Damascus, Syria
October 11, 2015
Ordination to Diaconate of Joseph Chebli, New
Brunswick, N.J.
October 12, 2015
Host to Bishop Joseph Sweif, Maronite Bishop of
October 13, 2015
Annual Eparchial Benefit Dinner, Manhattan, N.Y.
October 14, 2015
Presbyteral Council Meeting, The Chancery,
Brooklyn, N.Y.
October17, 2015
Eparchial Pastoral Council Meeting, The Chancery,
Brooklyn, N.Y.
October 18, 2015
Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, N.Y.
October 20 - 21, 2015
Oriental Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue, Stella Maris
Retreat Center, N. J.
October 22, 2015
Talk to the Order of Malta with Bishop Ronald
Gainer, Lancaster, Penn.
October 25, 2015
Pastoral Visit to St. John Paul II Maronite Church,
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
October 30, 2015
Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Dinner,
Manhattan, N.Y.
October 30 - November 1, 2015
Pastoral Visit to St. Anthony Church, Lawrence,
November 6 - 8, 2015
NAM Regional Convention, Our Lady of Lebanon
Cathedral, Brooklyn, N.Y.
November 9 - 10, 2015
Caritas Lebanon-USA Board of Directors Meeting,
Saint Louis, Mo. ”
Issue No. IX
Page 9
October 2015
In This World, But Not of It: A Constant Challenge
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had
passed away, and the sea was no more" (Revelation 21.1).
A Constant Challenge
he Church is called to be the herald and foretaste of the
new earth and new heaven to come. It realizes this
calling only to the extent that its members mirror that
holiness to which they are called, as sons and daughters of
Christ. Yet, while our hearts may be turned toward the
Kingdom we are taught to yearn for, in our natural existence
in this world, our feet are often buried deep in the mud of the
earth. This is indeed the constant challenge to Holy Church
and her children - how to be authentically Christian in a
world that has become ever more hostile to the truth of
The World Today:
Hatred of the Truth
The world today is not only deaf to the truth, it is hateful
towards it. That hate is no longer just "over there," where
Islamic radicalism seeks to eradicate all Christians from the
Middle East, or India where conversions to Christianity,
although legal, can spark persecution and violence. The
hatred of the faith is also here in the historically Christian
West, in the lands of freedom and liberty. This reality is
vividly expressed in the prediction of the late Cardinal
George of Chicago:
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in
prison and his successor will die a martyr in the
public square. His successor will pick up the shards
of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild
civilization, as the Church has done so often in
human history."
Daily it seems we read and hear of the erosion of religious
freedom for the sake of a politically correct secular society.
If Christians do not keep quiet about, or find room in their
beliefs for abortion, same-sex marriage, and the myriad
doctrines of the novus ordo seclorum (new order of the ages),
then one is deemed to be ignorant, bigoted, out-of-step, or as
Cardinal George alluded to - criminal.
The Truth of Christ:
Always Radical
In the Gospel of Luke, between our Lord’s telling his
disciples that those to whom much is given, much will be
required and that because of his Word there will be division
so great that father will be against son and son against father,
Jesus said: "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish
it were already kindled!" (Luke 12:49). The Word of God is
like fire. It is the fire of truth that will consume the old earth
and the old heaven, so that the new earth and the new heaven
may come in their fullness.
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
The truth is always radical because it will never accept that
which is false, that which is from below and not from above.
To be a Christian today is be radical. It means not always
"fitting in." It means to "love" while others hate. It means to
"forgive" when others cannot. It means "poverty" in the sense
of not being fulfilled in what the world has to offer us as
fulfilling. Ultimately it means the Cross, as Saint Paul
reminds us, "For the message about the Cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it
is the power of God" (1Corinthians 1:18).
The Church:
Ascetical and Eucharistic
The pagan world into which the Church was born, which the
Church challenged and overcame, accused the early
Christians of not being religious - they were wrong and they
were right. How so? They were wrong in the sense that they
found it odd that a religion did not have "sacred stuff." Why
did Christians not have sacred groves and forests, magic,
sacred animals, secrets and all the "stuff" of paganism? In
the famous dialogue (Contra Celsum) between the Church
Father Origen and the pagan philosopher Celsius, Celsius
attacks Christians for being kidnappers of children and
masquerading as a religion. Therefore in the eyes of pagans
theirs was not a religion for they were not like the religions
the world was used to. They were correct, although they did
not know it, in the sense that Christianity is not a religion; it
is the end of religion.
The Christian faith is not a religion in the sense of a remedy
for the trials and tribulations of living in the natural world.
It does not make us rich in the eyes of the world; it makes us
rich in grace. It does not keep us from natural death; it
destroys eternal death. It will not alleviate all earthly
suffering; it will unite us to the salvific sufferings of the
Cross of Jesus. The Church is by its nature ascetical, always
poor, always simple, always striving to grow in faith, hope,
and love, always in prayer to grow to full stature in Christ.
In the early Church, when one asked what is it Christians
believed, the answer was lex orandi lex credendi (the rule of
prayer is the rule of belief). By experiencing Christians at
prayer, there was the revealing of the truths of the Christian
In the Church we existentially encounter the freedom of being
the sons and daughters of God. It is not the freedom that the
world offers, the freedom of choice or movement, the
freedom of exercising my individualism and my individual
freedom. No, the freedom given to us by the Christ is the
freedom of our being, freedom from the constrictions of the
natural world of birth and death, it is the freedom of eternal
communion with one another and with the Holy Trinity.
Issue No. IX
(Continues on page 20)
Page 10
October 2015
If the Lord is Calling You, The Church Needs You
My Journey
Deacon James T. Demers, St. Anthony Church, Lawrence, Mass.
The word "journey" comes from the
old French word "journee," meaning a
day's work or travel. Every Christian's
journey in life should be the work of
Christ. Just as Christ worked during
his ministry --- teaching, healing, and
forgiving --- so should we by imitating
Him. However, just as we all have
different occupations, so do we differ
in the work that we do each day in our
own journeys. My journey to follow
Christ as a subdeacon follows.
After serving as an altar boy, a lector,
and sacristan at St. Anne Church, a
French-Canadian church built by
blue-collar immigrants, I left to go to
college in Boston. Upon graduating,
If the Lord
is Calling
If you feel that you have a vocation
to the Priesthood or religious life,
please contact your Pastor or write
Fr. Gary George, Director
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Office of Vocations
1021 South 10th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
Fr. Dominique Hanna, Director
Eparchy of Saint Maron
Office of Vocations
c/o St. Joseph Church
502 Seminole Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary
7164 Alaska Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20012
The Maronite Voice
I returned home to attend the last Mass
before that parish closed. It was
bittersweet to see my home parish
filled to capacity for that liturgy, while
all those I knew there scattering to
other parishes. Where was I to go?
I went "church shopping," seeing what
other local parishes were like. Another
French parish, Sacred Heart, took
many in, and I went there. There, Fr.
Demers (no relation) and I became
friends, and it wasn't long before I was
involved again, as a lector and on their
pastoral parish council. Fr. Demers
concelebrated at my marriage to
Maureen at her home parish.
However, once we were expecting our
first child, we decided to join my
Jiddo's [grandfather] parish, St.
Anthony Maronite Church, so that our
children would appreciate the
Maronite Rite in which my mother had
been raised. My Sitto [grandmother]
had earlier switched rites from Melkite
to Maronite when she married, but
now I would be deliberately changing
rites. Where was I going?
While at St. Anthony, I became deeply
involved in many aspects of the
parish. Msgr. James Khoury asked me
to consider the subdiaconate, and I
did, but it didn't seem that the time
was right. When Msgr. Peter Azar
independently asked me to consider it,
I again thought about it. I discussed it
with Maureen, I prayed, and I listened.
I applied, and I began the required
steps. With the support of my family,
the parish, and Msgr. Peter, I was
ordained in 2010. Almost six years
later, I still feel I receive as much
support from my family, parish, and
Msgr. Peter as I did before I was
ordained. Where am I needed most?
As much as I try to do to support the
parish, I always feel a sense of
happiness in the efforts themselves.
Whether visiting the sick in hospitals,
nursing homes, or at home, I feel as
uplifted as the people I visit. Often,
some of my family will accompany
me on these visits. How amazed I feel
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
to think of the example my children
are witnessing of Christianity in
action! Although there are meetings
to attend, and functions to attend,
these are minor compared to the
engagement of serving the Lord in
Teaching altar boys or
religious education brings me in
contact with the youth of the parish,
and I never considered myself
particularly good with children.
Somehow, I am being guided to where
I am needed, and I thoroughly enjoy
every aspect. Where is my "day's
work" to lead me next?
I look forward to the next stage of my
journey. With God's help, I know that
my life will have meaning in service to
others, the very definition of diakonia.
My journey continues. ”
Prayer For Priestly
Father, in every generation You
provide ministers of Christ and the
We come before You now, asking
that You call forth more men to
serve our eparchies in the
ministerial priesthood.
Give us priests who will lead and
guide Your holy people gathered
by Word and Sacrament.
Bless us with priestly vocations so
that we can continue to be a truly
Eucharistic Church,
strengthened in our discipleship of
Jesus Christ, Your Only Son.
Raise up, we pray, men who are
generous in their service,
willing to offer their lives and all
their gifts for Your greater glory
and for the good of Your people.
We make our prayer in the
presence and power of the Holy
Spirit, through Christ, our Lord.
Page 11
October 2015
Order of Saint Sharbel
Joe Buzaid - A Man With a Mission
Interviewed by Cheri Jowdy
Fr. Naji Kiwan, Pastor of St. Anthony Church in Danbury,
Conn., with Joe Buzaid.
he education of seminarians and the retirement of
priests were the two issues that challenged the Maronite
Church throughout its history in the United States.
A man with a mission decided to do something about it.
He fought for the retirement of priests. Joseph Buzaid
dedicated his life to the church and the Order of Saint
Sharbel, the education of the seminarians and the retirement
of our priests.
Mr. Joseph Buzaid, one of the oldest living original
perpetual members of the Order of Saint Sharbel, turned
ninety years old in August. He remembers the early days of
its formation. Monte Ferris, then the organizer and appointed
president behind the Order of Saint Sharbel, groomed Joe to
take over the organization. Joe was the first elected president
of the Order from July 1986 through July 1989. Joe recalls
how difficult his job was but also how fulfilling and
rewarding his work meant to him. He also states how much
Bishop Robert J. Shaheen helped him. Whatever he needed,
Bishop Shaheen was right there supporting him. He will
never forget how supportive he was. He was always available
to help, and Joe would constantly get his advice.
During those early meetings many priests would
approach him worried about their retirement and how they
would live after serving the Church their whole lives. Joe
encouraged the priests to keep up with their life insurance.
During his presidency, Joe put together another membership
in the Order, which is known today as the Perpetual Members
of the Order of Saint Sharbel. These members support the
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
retired priests today because of Joe's mission, passion and
desire to make sure the priests were cared for during their
retirement. Once the Perpetual Membership was adopted, the
priests would come up to Joe during meeting and thank him
for insisting on their getting a retirement.
The reason Joe took the job as President was to make
sure the priests were recognized, because they worked hard.
He also did it with Monte's help as he recalled him being a
very smart man. They got along very well and were very
good friends, and the priests knew that.
Joe's main objective was to make sure the priests received
a monthly check when they retired. Joe received much
satisfaction out of knowing that presidents who followed him
continued his legacy.
He fondly recalled Archbishop Francis M. Zayek,
Monsignor James Naime and Monsignor George J. Webby
who served during Joe’s presidency.
Joe was proud of being the second President and after
three years growing the organization it was very satisfying to
know the priests would be able to retire and live in dignity.
He is happy for them and he will continue to help in any way
he can. All past presidents feel the same way, and he is glad
that things turned out the way they did. Thank God with the
help of everybody and the priests, we did well!
The Order of Saint Sharbel is an organization of lay
people and clergy who have pledged their spiritual strength
and financial support for Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary and
the retired Maronite clergy of the Maronite Eparchies in the
The second Sunday of October has been designated as
“Order of Saint Sharbel Sunday” in both Maronite Eparchies
in the United States. This year, that will be October 11, but
can be any Sunday in October. The Order of Saint Sharbel is
vitally important in providing financial and spiritual support
for our seminarians, who are crucial for the future of our
Maronite Church. Please prayerfully consider joining the
For more information about the Order ask your Pastor,
log on to www.orderstsharbel.org, or write to:
Issue No. IX
Eparchy of Saint Maron
Order of Saint Sharbel
109 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Order of Saint Sharbel
1021 South 10th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104. ”
Page 12
October 2015
Poster Winners
NAM Vocations
Awareness Winners
Kindergarten / Grade One
he National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) sponsors
annual contests that receive wide participation by
Maronite youth throughout the country. The vocation
contests take place during the year and the results are
announced at each convention. At this year’s national
convention in Cleveland, Ohio, the following winners were
recognized for their achievements and contributions.
In the Beginning God created Heaven and earth
Cid Guerrero
St. Michael the Archangel Church,
Fayetteville, N.C.
Marie-Belle Kassouf Our Lady of Victory Church,
Carnegie, Penn.
Samantha Martinez St. George Church, San Antonio,
Grades Two and Three
NAM 2015 Vocations Awareness
Contest Winners
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength”
(Philippians 4:13)
Lexie Filipe
Maya Atallah
Kindergarten / Grade One
Vivian Nohra
I love God because
Paul Habchy
Jenna Chaoul
Samantha Yago
Our Lady of Mercy Church, Worcester,
St. Anthony Church, Glen Allen, Va.
St. Anthony Church, Glen Allen, Va.
Grades Two and Three
Diana Haddad
Grades Four through Six
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your
understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)
Dean Martinez
My Church is special because
Olivia Sheehan
Serena Aslou
St. Anthony of the Desert Church,
Fall River, Mass.
St. John Maron Church,
Williamsville, N.Y.
St. Maron Church, Youngstown,
St. Louis Gonzaga Church, Utica, N.Y.
Heart of Jesus Mission, Ft. Lauderdale,
Heart of Jesus Mission, Ft. Lauderdale,
Grades Four through Six
St. George Church, San Antonio,
Olivia Bean
St. Joseph Church, Olean, N.Y.
Jessamyn Guerrero St. Michael the Archangel Church,
Fayetteville, N.C.
Grades Seven through Nine
Jesus' Call to Peter (Luke 5:1-11)
Sophie Hallal
Imagine your conversation with God
Sophia Moran
Vanessa Lahoud Heart of Jesus Mission, Fort Lauderdale,
Dominic Khoury St. John Maron Church, Williamsville,
Mia Kamel
Our Lady of Lebanon Church,
Washington, D.C.
Pamela Khoury
Our Lady of Lebanon Church,
Washington, D.C.
Maron Church,
Williamsville, N.Y.
Maron Church,
Williamsville, N.Y.
Grades Ten through Twelve
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 )
Grades Seven through Nine
Describe the ideal priest or nun
Maroun Harb
St. George Church, San Antonio, Tex.
Rita Richa
St. Rafka Church, Livonia, Mich.
Roxanne Sawyer St. Anthony Church, Glen Allen, Va.
No Entries
Grades Ten through Twelve
Compose a 3-5 minute production of either: What is a
Maronite? Or choose and present the life of one saint (i.e.
Rafka, Hardini, Sharbel, Maron or Stephen)
If your best friend decided to become a priest or a nun,
what would you tell him/her ?
Mark Elhallal
Our Lady of Lebanon Church,
Washington, D.C.
Grades Seven through Nine
Jake Guerrero
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
St. Michael the Archangel Church,
Fayetteville, N.C.
Page 13
October 2015
Brandon Torbay
Our Lady of Lebanon, Washington.
Fourteen parishes from the Eparchy of Saint Maron of
Brooklyn participated with forty-one essays, two multimedia
and thirty-three posters. Twenty-two winners were chosen.
Five parishes from the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
participated with ten essays and forty-one posters. Five
winners were chosen. ”
Convention Raffle Winners
The Board of Directors of the National Apostolate of
Maronites (NAM) is pleased to announce the winners of the
Convention Raffle:
• Sally Chamoun of Cleveland, Ohio, (ticket no. 00359)
won the Car Raffle
• Rose Shayoun of Youngstown, Ohio, (ticket no. 00303)
won the first prize (Ladies Mont Blanc watch)
• Mark Michael of Aliquippa, Penn., (ticket no. 08531)
won the second prize (Two round trip tickets from Europe
to Lebanon)
• Carol Rahme of Whitesboro, N.Y., (ticket no. 08107)
won the third prize (Apple Watch Sport)
• Fadia Nemeh of Cleveland, Ohio, (ticket no. 41181) won
the fourth prize (Samsung 32" LED TV)
Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you for your
support. ”
Bkerke, Lebanon
World Maronite Youth Forum
by Mike and Tracy Saba
ine Maronite Young Adults representing both U.S.
eparchies attended the first World Maronite Youth
Forum (WMYF) in Bethania-Harissa, Lebanon,
between June 28 - July 7, 2015. The forum was organized by
the Maronite Youth Pastoral Ministry in Lebanon, in
coordination with the Maronite Expansion Office, as a
stepping stone to organizing the first Maronite World Youth
Day in 2017, based on a call by the Maronite Patriarchal
Every Maronite Eparchy in the world was represented by
a total of 185 Maronite Young Adults who shared their MYA
experiences on a social, cultural and spiritual level, deepened
their knowledge of the Maronite history and identity, and
launched the preparations for the 2017 Maronite World
Youth Day.
The theme, "Like the Cedars of Lebanon," called the
Maronite Young Adults to be deep-rooted and attached to
their Maronite Church and identity, to grow their faith
similarly to that of our ancestors and saints, and spread the
message to all Maronite Young Adults across the world. The
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
program included tourism and pilgrimage tours across
Lebanon, meetings with His Beatitude Patriarch Bechara
Peter Cardinal Rai, and the establishment of a communication
network between all Maronite Young Adults.
There are no words to describe our gratitude and how
blessed we are to have been a part of such an amazing and
life changing experience. Being in the midst of Maronite
Young Adults from all over the world who share our faith
and want to start a Maronite World Youth Movement was so
incredible and deeply moving. For many, the trip was their
first visit to Lebanon, the land of their ancestors that Jesus
walked on. Their amazement was echoed by tears of joy and
their example of faith and love was truly heart felt. Walking
in the Valley of the Saints, the Qadeesha Valley, was such a
humbling experience that allowed us to deepen our faith,
appreciate more the traditions that have been passed on to us,
and be proud of our ancestors who preserved and defended
our faith with their own blood for centuries. The experience
motivated us to work harder in our parishes and communities
in order to reach and unify all Maronite Young Adults in the
world as one family in Christ.
We believe that the forum was a first step of an incredible
movement to come, and we invite all Maronite Young Adults
to be a part of this journey. Although there is still time before
the first Maronite World Youth Day takes place in 2017, you
can join us at the 7th Annual Maronite Young Adult
Workshop in Anaheim, California, on October 30 November 1, 2015, for a weekend of faith and fellowship. To
register, please visit www.maroniteyoungadults.org or join
our Facebook Group for more information, "MYA - Maronite
Young Adults - Official Facebook Group." ”
Issue No. IX
Page 14
October 2015
Washington, D.C.
IDC National Leadership Convention Mobilizes Hundreds to Urge
Congress to Support the Christians in the Middle East
nearly three hundred congressional offices, pressing for
deeper political commitment on the issue.
by Ninar Keyrouz
n Friday, September 11, 2015, In Defense of Christians
(IDC) concluded its Inaugural National Leadership
Convention (NLC) with its Second Annual Solidarity
Dinner in Washington, D.C., “Mobilizing America for
Christians in the Middle East.” Headline speakers included
David Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for Religious
Freedom; Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of
Columbus; and His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III
Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syriacs.
The gala brought to conclusion three full days of intensive
media and advocacy work on the part of hundreds of
Americans of Middle Eastern Christian descent. Christian
diaspora converged in Washington to voice their concern
over the genocide of minority communities in the Middle
At the National Press Club on Wednesday, September 9,
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-R), Co-chair of the
Congressional Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle
East, made the official public announcement of House
Congressional Resolution 75, which decries the genocide
against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and
Syria, presented to Congress that same day. “Christianity in
the Middle East is shattered,” said Fortenberry. “The ancient
faith tradition lies beaten, broken, and dying. Yet Christians
in Iraq and Syria are hanging on in the face of the Islamic
State’s barbarous onslaught. This is genocide. The
international community must confront the scandalous
silence about their plight. Christians, Yezidis, and other
religious minorities have every right to remain in their
ancestral homelands.”
Experts including Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett of the United
States Commission on International Religious Freedom;
Professor Robert Destro of the Columbia School of Law; Dr.
Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch; and Aram
Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National
Committee of America, engaged a robust discussion in the
presence of press and public, shedding light on the Christian
The NLC incorporated a moment of ecumenical prayer,
symbol of Christian solidarity, concelebrated by Cardinal
Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Archbishop
Oshagan Choloyan, Archbishop of the Armenian Apostolic
Church of America; Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop of the
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn; Canon Alistair
Macdonald-Radcliffe, Director General of the World
Dialogue Council; Stan Holmes of Core Fellowship, and
other national religious leaders.
IDC also celebrated Middle Eastern Christian art and culture
with artists, filmmakers, writers and performers from the
region at the French embassy on Thursday evening.
Other notable programming included a gathering of religious,
policy and academic experts addressing “Building Bridges
between Eastern and Western Christianity,” led by Tim Shah
of Georgetown University, and a panel discussion of stories
shared by advocates working with displaced Christian
communities, led by Michael La Civita of Catholic Near East
Welfare Association. Experts included Mark Tooley of the
Institute on Religion and Democracy; Kathryn Jean Lopez of
National Review; Stan Holmes of Core Fellowship; Nermien
Riad of Coptic Orphans; Bishop Gregory Mansour of the
Maronite Catholic Church; Alistair McDonald Radcliff of the
World Dialogue Council; Dr. Paul Heck of Georgetown
University; Dr. Ray Hashem of the University of Texas M. D.
Anderson Cancer Center; Bashar Hameed, President of the
Nineveh Provincial Council; Father Nabil Haddad, Executive
Director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research
Center; Ed Clancy, Director of Evangelization and Outreach
at Aid to the Church in Need; and Nahren Enweya, an
Assyrian American activist.
Participants left IDC’s inaugural National Leadership
Convention emboldened in their resolve to mobilize America
for Christians in the Middle East, by expanding awareness on
national and community levels and coordinating advocacy
with American and international policy makers.
Concluding the NLC and Solidarity Dinner, IDC presented
Dr. Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project
at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
at Georgetown University, with a Lifetime Achievement
Award for his tireless work in human rights. Toufic Baaklini,
President of IDC, and Andrew Doran, senior advisor to IDC,
presented Dr. Farr with a crucifix from a church in Mosul,
Iraq, to be held in safe-keeping until it could be returned
upon the restoration of Christianity in the region. ”
On Thursday, September 10, over two dozen congressmen
addressed a room of NLC participants, heralding their
support for the bill. Following that, IDC members visited
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
Page 15
October 2015
Pope: Families Are the Answer for
the Future
Without Them We Can't Learn to
Be Human
empty of contacts, empty of encounters. Of parents, children,
grandparents, grandchildren, siblings."
The Pope said that the family is a "school of humanity"
and that without it, one's personality becomes all about "I,
mine, me, with me, for me -- totally centered in oneself,
unaware of solidarity, fraternity, teamwork, love, arguments
among siblings."
"Please, never forget one thing," Pope Francis said.
"Families are not a problem, they are first and foremost an
opportunity. An opportunity which we have to care for,
protect and support. That is a way of saying that they are a
blessing. When you begin to live as if the family is a
problem, you get stuck, you don't go forward. You are very
centered in yourself."
Saying that there is often talk about the future, the Pontiff
exhorted: "Let us leave behind a world with families. This is
the best inheritance. Let us leave behind a world with
families. No doubt about it: the perfect family does not exist;
there are no perfect husbands and wives, perfect parents,
perfect children -- and if I can dare to say it, there is no
perfect mother-in-law -- but this does not prevent families
from being the answer for the future. […] So let us care for
our families, true schools for the future. Let us care for our
families, true spaces of freedom. Let us care for families, true
centers of humanity." ”
(September 22, 2015, ZENIT.org)
Pope Francis Arrives in the United
States of America
by Kathleen Naab
ope Francis left Cuba on September 22, 2015, after
telling families that they are needed for the future, to
save societies from people who haven't learned how to
be human.
The Pope's final public address in his four-day visit to the
island nation was an exhortation to families, not to be perfect
or never have arguments, but to be the space where people
can discover not only the love of God, but also how to deal
with others and how to reign in their own egotism.
Jesus likes to be with families, the Holy Father said, and
it is in families that "we learn fraternity, that we learn
solidarity, that we learn not to be overbearing. It is in the
home that we learn to receive, to appreciate life as a blessing
and to realize that we need one another to move forward. It
is in the home that we experience forgiveness, that we are
continually asked to forgive and to grow. It's interesting, in
the home there is no room for 'putting on masks': we are who
we are, and in one way or another we are called to do our best
for others."
The Pope lamented that the experience of family is
"disappearing," and consequently "everything is slowly
breaking up, growing apart."
"We have fewer moments in common, to stay together,
to stay at home as a family," he said. "As a result, we don't
know how to be patient, we don't know how to ask
permission or we don't know how to ask forgiveness, or even
we don't know how to say 'thank you,' because our homes are
growing empty. Not empty of people. Empty of relationships,
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
ith his arrival, ten minutes earlier than expected
(3.49 p.m. local time, 9.49 p.m. in Rome) at the
Andrews air base in Washington, D.C., on
September 22, 2015, the Pope began the second part of his
apostolic trip. During his six days in the United States, he met
with President Barack Obama and the American episcopate,
canonized Blessed Junipero Serra, spoke before the United
States Congress (the first Pontiff to do so), met the homeless
in New York, addressed the United Nations, participated in
an interreligious meeting at Ground Zero and a meeting for
religious freedom, visited prison detainees and celebrated
Mass at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Penn.
Issue No. IX
Page 16
October 2015
Upon arrival in the United States, Pope Francis was
received by President Barack Obama, accompanied by the
First Lady, Michelle Obama, and their two daughters. The
Mayor of the District of Colombia and the Governors of
Maryland and Virginia were also present, along with the
Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Carlo
Maria Vigano, and the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal
Donald Wuerl.
The Pope and the President, with the First Lady, spoke
privately for a few minutes in the airport. Following their
conversation the Pope transferred by car to the Apostolic
Nunciature in Washington, D.C., where he spent the night.
At 9.15 a.m. local time (3.15 p.m. in Rome) the
welcome ceremony was held in the White House, and on the
grounds the Holy Father pronounced his first discourse in
the United States. He then met in private with President
Obama, after which he met the Catholic bishops in the
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. He later celebrated
Mass for the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra in the
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Pope
Francis concluded his day with a visit to the John Paul II
Seminary. ”
(Vatican Information Service, September 23, 2015)
The Holy Father said this from St. Matthew's Cathedral
in Washington, D.C., after being welcomed by local ordinary,
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and the President of the U.S.
bishops, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.
The Pontiff gave his lengthy address in Italian, following
his prepared text nearly word-for-word, with the exception of
an initial greeting to the Jewish people for Yom Kippur.
Perhaps in response to the tendency in the United States
to overly politicize the Pope, his message emphasized that the
heart of Peter's Successor "expands to include everyone."
"May no member of Christ's Body and the American
people feel excluded from the Pope's embrace," he said.
"Wherever the name of Jesus is spoken, may the Pope's voice
also be heard to affirm that: 'He is the Savior!'"
He expressed his wish that when anyone does an act of
service and when the faithful gather for Mass, the Pope's
presence and support might be felt.
"Whenever a hand reaches out to do good or to show the
love of Christ, to dry a tear or bring comfort to the lonely, to
show the way to one who is lost or to console a broken heart,
to help the fallen or to teach those thirsting for truth, to
forgive or to offer a new start in God… know that the Pope
is at your side and supports you. He puts his hand on your
own, a hand wrinkled with age, but by God's grace still able
to support and encourage," he said.
The Bishop of Rome then offered praise to the Church in the
U.S., thanking God for the growth of the Church here. He
noted the "generous solidarity" of the Church in the U.S. for
those suffering. And he underlined the "unfailing
commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life
and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my
present visit."
He praised the Church's aid to immigrants and its work
in education and charity, "works," he said, that "are often
carried out without appreciation or support, often with heroic
sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate which we may
not disobey."
And in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal, the Pope
noted that the bishops had responded "without fear of
self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great
sacrifice," willing to "divest whatever is unessential in order
to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of
ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful."
Whenever a Hand Reaches Out to
Do Good, the Pope Is at Your Side Unity
"I do not speak to you with my voice alone, but in continuity
Pope Francis Tells Bishops They Must
Proclaim Core of Church's Message
Even in Hostile Times
by Kathleen Naab
ope Francis told the bishops of the United States on
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, that whenever
someone is reaching out to do good or to show the love
of Christ, "the Pope is at your side and supports you. He
puts his hand on your own, a hand wrinkled with age, but by
God's grace still able to support and encourage."
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
with the words of my predecessors," the Holy Father said,
adding that the visits of three popes in recent decades "have
helped to inspire the long-term goals which you have set for
the Church in this country."
He then offered "some reflections which I consider
helpful for our mission." The first was regarding the joy of
the mission.
"Our greatest joy is to be shepherds, and only shepherds,
pastors with undivided hearts and selfless devotion. We need
to preserve this joy and never let ourselves be robbed of it,"
he said.
The Pope also emphasized the importance of prayer and
witness, saying, "Ours must not be just any kind of prayer but
Issue No. IX
Page 17
October 2015
familiar union with Christ, in which we daily encounter his
gaze […]."
And he asked the bishops to "be vigilant that the flock
may always encounter in the heart of their pastor that 'taste
of eternity' which they seek in vain in the things of this
"May they always hear from you a word of appreciation
for their efforts to confirm in liberty and justice the
prosperity in which this land abounds," he added.
Pope Francis said he recognized that the bishops "face
many challenges" in their work: "that the field in which you
sow is unyielding and that there is always the temptation to
give in to fear, to lick one's wounds, to think back on
bygone times and to devise harsh responses to fierce
But he said that dialogue, the "culture of encounter," must
be the answer: "dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in
your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with
families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of
encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly."
"Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue
of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may
momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure
of goodness and love remains truly convincing," Francis
We need to learn from Jesus, or better to learn Jesus,
meek and humble; to enter into his meekness and his
humility by contemplating his way of acting; to lead our
Churches and our people – not infrequently burdened by the
stress of everyday life – to the ease of the Lord's yoke. And
to remember that Jesus' Church is kept whole not by
'consuming fire from heaven' (Lk 9:54), but by the secret
warmth of the Spirit, who 'heals what is wounded, bends
what is rigid, straightens what is crooked.'"
The world is already so divided, the Holy Father said,
that "the Church, 'the seamless garment of the Lord,' cannot
allow herself to be rent, broken or fought over."
The Bishop of Rome said that for the bishops of the
U.S., this service to unity is particularly important because
of the vast resources of the nation and its consequent "moral
Stewards, not Masters
Pope Francis spoke of various violations of the gift of God,
saying, "The innocent victim of abortion, children who die
of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the
search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are
considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence
and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man's
predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is
the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not
"It is wrong, then," he said, "to look the other way or to
remain silent. No less important is the Gospel of the Family,
which in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia I
will emphatically proclaim together with you and the entire
The Pontiff referred to these as "essential aspects of the
Church's mission," belonging to "the core of what we have
received from the Lord."
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
"It is our duty to preserve and communicate them, even
when the tenor of the times becomes resistant and even
hostile to that message," he said.
Family Fire
But in offering this witness, he urged both the "means and
creativity born of love" and the "humility of truth."
"It needs to be preached and proclaimed to those without,
but also to find room in people's hearts and in the conscience
of society," Francis said. "To this end, it is important that the
Church in the United States also be a humble home, a family
fire which attracts men and women through the attractive
light and warmth of love."
In a world plagued by "darkness and cold," the Pope said,
"only a Church which can gather around the family fire
remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one
which blazed forth on Easter morn. The risen Lord continues
to challenge the Church's pastors through the quiet plea of so
many of our brothers and sisters: 'Have you something to
eat?' We need to recognize the Lord's voice, as the apostles
did on the shore of the Lake of Tiberius." ”
(September 23, 2015, Zenit.org)
Pope, in New York, Tells Priests
and Religious Gratitude and Hard
Work Are the Two Pillars of
Spiritual Life
ope Francis arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New
York on September 25, where he was received by the
Cardinal Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan and
Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, accompanied by
Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza. The Governor of New York
State, Andrew Cuomo and the Mayor of the city, Bill de
Blasio, were also present. The Holy Father transferred by
helicopter to Manhattan, where he boarded the popemobile to
travel to St. Patrick Cathedral, where he celebrated Vespers
with clergy and men and women religious.
“This evening, my brothers and sisters, I have come to
join you – priests and men and women of consecrated life –
in praying that our vocations will continue to build up the
great edifice of God’s Kingdom in this country. I know that,
as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered
greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of
some of your brothers who harmed and scandalised the
Church in the most vulnerable of her members. In the words
of the Book of Revelation, I say that you 'have come forth
from the great tribulation.' I accompany you at this moment
of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful
service to His people.”
Then, “in the hope of helping you to persevere on the
path of fidelity to Jesus Christ,” he offered reflections on two
aspects: the spirit of gratitude and of hard work.
Regarding gratitude, he observed that “the joy of men
and women who love God attracts others to Him; priests and
religious are called to find and radiate lasting satisfaction in
their vocation. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we
have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and
Issue No. IX
Page 18
October 2015
we rejoice in this. It will do us good to think back on our
lives with the grace of remembrance. … Remembrance of
the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ
awakens in our hearts. … Let us seek the grace of
remembrance so as to grow in the spirit of gratitude”.
“A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the
Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our
work,” he continued. “Once we come to realize how much
God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for
Him and for others, becomes a privileged way of
responding to his great love. Yet, if we are honest, we know
how easily this spirit of generous self-sacrifice can be
dampened. There are a couple of ways that this can happen;
both ways are examples of that 'spiritual worldliness' which
weakens our commitment … to serve, and diminishes the
wonder, the amazement, of our first encounter with Christ.”
“We can get caught up measuring the value of our
apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good
management and outward success which govern the
business world. Not that these things are unimportant! We
have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and God’s
people rightly expect accountability from us. But the true
worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in
God’s eyes. To see and evaluate things from God’s
perspective calls for constant conversion in the first days
and years of our vocation and, need I say, it calls for great
humility. The cross shows us a different way of measuring
success. Ours is to plant the seeds: God sees to the fruits of
our labours. And if at times our efforts and works seem to
fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are
followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended
in failure, in the failure of the cross.”
“The other danger comes when we become jealous of
our free time, when we think that surrounding ourselves
with worldly comforts will help us serve better,” he warned.
“The problem with this reasoning is that it can blunt the
power of God’s daily call to conversion, to encounter with
Him. Slowly but surely, it diminishes our spirit of sacrifice,
our spirit of renunciation and hard work. It also alienates
people who suffer material poverty and are forced to make
greater sacrifices than ourselves, without being consecrated.
Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and
self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way
that deepens our desire to serve with generosity. Closeness
to the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the sick, the
exploited, the elderly living alone, prisoners and all God’s
other poor, will teach us a different way of resting, one
which is more Christian and generous.”
Gratitude and hard work: these are two pillars of the
spiritual life which I have wanted, this evening, to share
with you priests and religious. I thank you for prayers and
work. … In a special way I would like to express my
esteem and my gratitude to the religious women of the
United States. What would the Church be without you?
Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage
which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the
Gospel. To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of
this people, I wish to say … a big thank you, and to tell you
that I love you very much.” ”
(Vatican Information Service, September 25, 2015)
The Maronite Voice
Volume XI
History of the Maronite Catholic
Church in the United States
The Clergy
by Evelyn Karam Small
n 1890, the first assigned Maronite Catholic
missionary arrived in New York City. Like many
Lebanese immigrants, he brought with him his faith
and the hope of building a better tomorrow.
Now, modern-day parishioners can read about the
complete history of the Maronite Church in America in a
new book called History of the Maronite Catholic Church
in the United States, Volume I, The Clergy. Five years of
extensive research were needed to unearth never-before
published documents and to translate historical records
and correspondence from their original French or Arabic
into English. To further understand the evolution of the
Church, the authors also analyzed interviews conducted
with parishioners and pastors over the past seventy years.
This 440-page book is an essential addition to the
bookshelf of any Maronite curious about the
contributions our Church has made over the last 125
The Clergy is available for $30 plus $7 shipping from
Saint Maron Publications,
4611 Sadler Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
Saint Maron Publications accepts Visa or Master Card.
Issue No. IX
Page 19
October 2015
The Maronite Voice
St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church
4611 Sadler Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060-6108
In This World, But Not of It
The Relics of Saint Sharbel
Continued from page 10
Jesus reveals to us in his Incarnation, Cross, and
Resurrection that true freedom is the
communion/relationship; and by the power of the Holy
Spirit, the same Spirit by whose power Jesus rose from the
dead, we too are brought into the eternal communion of
love, a love that never ends. This is why the Church is
Eucharistic. It is the living vision of the new heaven and the
new earth. The Eucharist is never about the individual, is
never a private devotion, it is the Body of Christ gathered
together, professing the same faith and receiving the same
Lord's unifying sacramental presence in his Body and Blood
The Church is a living organism, where sinners are called to
be saints, to be holy and find new life in Christ. Life in the
Church is a challenge to let go of the false notions of
freedom, of the false understandings of individualism, of
what the world judges as success, letting go of attempts to
rule what we can’t rule, which is the natural world and all its
pitfalls. In the Church, especially in the celebration of the
Eucharist, we discover the other as brother and sister, not as
threat or enemy. In the celebration of the Eucharist we
discover that the natural must give way to the divine, the
created to the uncreated, death to eternal life.
God calls each of us to be ecclesial beings, to find in our
communion as the Body of Christ, communion with the
Holy Trinity. We are called not to be perfect, wise, rich,
important, or successful as the world judges these, for they
lead nowhere. We are called to be holy, like the Divine
Master, to lay down our lives for our friends, to be the last
so that we will be first, to be of love - for only those who
love shall see clearly what we now only see dimly, a new
heaven and a new earth. ”
In our busy world today, these qualities of prayer and silence
will help us to discern the will of God. Let us stop, listen,
discern and pray and then do the will of the Lord.
As the Second Vatican Council tells us in the document
Lumen Gentium: "All Christians in any state or walk of life
are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the
perfection of charity" (Chapter 5). Our vocation, our calling
by God, is to be holy.
The visit of the relics of St. Sharbel will be an opportunity to
repent, to receive mercy from the Lord and to extend mercy
to others. It will be an opportunity to renew our commitment
to our Church, to evangelize and reach out to others as Pope
Francis has challenged us to do.
Let us always remember, we are all immigrants here on earth.
Our true home is in Heaven. ”
+Bishop A. Elias Zaidan
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
(Rev.) David A. Fisher
Philadelphia, Penn.
The Maronite Voice
Continued from page 1
Volume XI
Issue No. IX
Page 20
October 2015

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