Season of the Glorious Birth of Our Lord

(Syriac: Soboorey, “Happy Announcements”)
The pre-Christmas Cycle has six Sundays, which all focus on the unfolding revelation of the Birth of the Messiah, in the context of the human relatives of Jesus. In this season, there are no particular Maronite customs practiced until immediately before Christmas. Nine days before the Feast (beginning on December 16th and concluding on December 24th) the Maronite Church offers its Novena with voluntary fasting, commemorating the nine months that Jesus was in the womb of Mary (Captivated by Your Teachings, Fr. Anthony Salim).
Below is an excerpt from the Maronite Christmas Novena:
We have offered you, O Wonderful Child and only-begotten Son, the perfume of our incense, the desires of our hearts, the submission of our souls, the adoring reverence of our bodies, and the prayers of our lips. May this be a proper preparation for your pure Nativity. May we be found worthy, on that holy day, for you to dwell in us through the Mystery of your Sacred Body and Blood, as you dwelt in your mother’s womb for nine months. May we be enlightened by the announcement of your holy angels, as were the humble shepherds. May we worship you with true spiritual adoration, as did the Blessed Magi, when we offer you not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but faith, hope and warm love. May these virtues flourish in us and bring forth good works pleasing to your will. To you be glory and thanks, to your Blessed Father, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.  
Below are verses 1 and 2 of the well-known Maronite Christmas Hymn, God Sent His Only Son, (Arabic: Arsal Allah):
God sent his only Son from the heavens to the earth as the Light for all the world. God’s Word has hid himself in the Virgin Mary’s womb, and from her, he took his flesh. His star was seen on high, shining brightly in the East, as foretold in Balaam’s words. Wise men, led by the star to the place where Jesus lay, honored him with finest gifts. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!
This child Isaiah called “Wonderful and mighty God” and proclaimed him as the Lord: “Upon his shoulders rest full authority and power over all the universe”. In truth, he is the Word and the Voice of God above, roaring with a lion’s strength. Yet, as a gentle lamb, silently and peacefully, he now dwells in Mary’s womb. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!


Winter News

Read our latest Winter Newsletter featuring our mission outreach to the Maronite parishes and youth.


Women’s Retreat – “Loved As I Am”

I will praise You, O Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…..(cf ps.139)
We hosted and facilitated a day of retreat on Saturday, November 12 for young ladies at the Mother of Light Convent on the theme: “Loved as I Am” (not ‘who I want to be’ or ‘who people want me to be’, but just as I am). This is the way that God loves us.
The retreat began with Sr. Therese Maria asking ladies, “what gives you purpose and meaning in your life?”; “why do you think that God created each one of us?”; “what gives you value and self-worth?” The ladies were encouraged to remain grounded in God’s love for them, because, as Sr. Therese Maria so beautifully put it, if we are grounded in His love nothing can sway us, not even what people think of us. The day centered on this topic and with videos and discussions, the ladies reflected on the truth of their dignity and beauty as daughters of the Father. 
Mother Marla Marie and Sr. Therese Maria led a beautiful hour of adoration, and Fr. James Doran from St. Anthony of the Desert Church came to hear confessions. Sr. Therese Maria also taught the ladies how to pray with the Word of God, by walking them through a Lectio Divina.
Also, Mother Marla Marie gave the ladies a brief explanation of our current Maronite Liturgical Season of Happy Anouncements (Soboorey in Syriac), and the significance of each ‘happy announcement’ as they unfold on each of the Sundays leading up to Christmas.
The afternoon concluded with a conference and group sharing on discerning one’s vocation in life. The ladies were given a number of tools to help them discern God’s particular path and how ultimately in this path they are to find authentic love and fulfillment in their lives.
 If you are interested in attending a similar retreat or hosting one in the parish, please contact the Maronite Servants on 508-996-1753 or by email sister@maroniteservants.org.


MYO Fall Regional Retreat -- Pittsburgh, PA

Giving Thanks 

On Saturday November 5th, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light facilitated with the help of generous volunteers a Regional  MYO Retreat at Our Lady of Victory Church, Pittsburgh, PA. The retreat schedule was planned and coordinated by Sr. Therese Maria and Rosa Calabria.  Father Rudy Wakim, pastor of the parish graciously hosted over 50 teens and chaperones from six surrounding Maronite parishes. We were blessed to have Fr. Claude Franklin from the Newcastle parish and Fr. Baddoui Habib from the Uniontown parish join us for our retreat day to help by hearing confessions. 

The focus of the retreat day was “Giving Thanks” and praising God for the many blessings in our lives. The teens were challenged to express their gratitude and be thankful for the simple things in their everyday life. In one of our small group activities they wrote on pumpkins highlighting what they were grateful for: family, friends, health, faith etc. As the MYO family, this retreat gave us the opportunity to come together in adoration to praise God like Mary, who magnified God for the great mercy he has shown. 

“The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).