Wishing you a Merry Christmas

“Praise and thanksgiving to you, eternal Child.

You are the hidden light without beginning which illumines the world,

The ancient of days who is born the infant son of the daughter of David.

You are the Lord who is pleased with a manger in a cave,

The Most High who was wrapped in swaddling clothes,

The awesome One who was recounted in the songs of the daughters of David.

How marvelous are you, O God, who became a man
without changing anything in your divine nature.”

(Taken from the Maronite Ramsho Evening Prayer for December 25.)


Visit to Somerset

Maronite Christmas Novena

The Christmas novena began on December 15, here are the remaining prayers for each day.

Fourth Prayer (18 December):
All: O Wine of Virgins and Lily of Purity, Who by a touch of Your hand heals the body and cleanses the soul; Who by dwelling in the womb of Your Mother has made her the purest of the pure and most admirable among virgins; we beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and through the intercession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us to be pure in soul and body and clean in act clean and thought, that we may serve You with a clean heart and pure body all the days of our lives. Amen.
Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...

Fifth Prayer, (19 December):
All: O Most High, by nature supreme and outranking all persons and all things, Who has left the magnificence of Your Divinity and loved the lowliness of our humanity to become for us a model in humility and lowliness; we beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and through the intercession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us humility of heart and an accurate estimation of ourselves. Help us to conquer every show of false pride, which would have us choose our own whims rather than Your Will. May we realize that, compared to You, we are little indeed. Glory be to You, for You alone are holy and great is Your Name. To You be Glory, Magnificence and Power! Amen.  Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...

Sixth Prayer (20 December):
All: O Word of God, Who comes from the Mouth of God to be the Life of all; You Who became Living Bread and was born in Bethlehem, “The House of Bread,” to satisfy our hunger; We beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and the intercession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us a piercing hunger for that Bread which is Your Pure Body and Blood. May we ever approach Your altar and receive Your Sacred Mysteries with fitting preparation so that our Communion may be for us salvation and life everlasting. Amen.  Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...

Seventh Prayer (21 December):
All: O You Who are One person but also have human nature; You Who have told us what You have heard from the Father; we beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and the inter¬cession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us an ardent belief in and be captivated by Your teachings, and grant us good acts to harmonize with them. Do not permit us to lose the reward of our faith because of our own wrong doings. Rather, make our lives fruitful in beliefs and good works. Amen.
Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...

Eighth Prayer (22 December):
All: O King of Great Counsel, You joined Your admirable power with the prudence of human judgment when You, the Mighty and All-Powerful God, fled into Egypt from the face of Herod. We beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and through the intercession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us good judgment in all our actions, that we may think and act wisely all the days of our lives, as we subject ourselves to Your divine service. Amen.   Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...

Ninth Prayer (23 December):
ALL: O God, Who in Your very nature contains all the riches of heaven and earth, You loved the poverty of humanity by choosing to become one of us. You are the descendant of Kings and the Heir of David the Venerable. You were satisfied to be born in a stable and a humble manger. We beseech You, through Your Pure Nativity and through the intercession of Your Mother and Saint Joseph, Your Chosen One, to grant us an appreciation of voluntary poverty. May we be satisfied with only that which is necessary for the maintenance of our lives. Teach us to flee from excessive luxury and the love of abundance all the days of our lives. Amen.  Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be ...


Bishop Gregory's Visit

Bishop Gregory Mansour was welcomed for a visit on December 4, 2009 to Mother of the Light Monastery, of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Sister Marla Marie and guests were blessed by the visit and shared lunch and Liturgy with Sayedna.

Visiting Waterville Maine


Be Good to the Sisters

Many kind hearted and generous friends of this mission have asked how best to help. The obvious answer is that we need funds to open our door and to keep our lights on. The basics are often not considered when a contemplative effort such as ours is in the startup stages. For those who so wish to help us, we have established two methods that seem to be working nicely.

• First, friends have registered us at Bed, Bath ∧ Beyond listing those items we need. Under the directions for “gift” enter sister (first) lucas (last). We will work to keep this listing updated on an ongoing basis.

• Second, if you wish to make a tax deductible donation, a monthly or quarterly contribution will really help us to meet our expenses. Donations can be made by check and mailed or by PayPal via our website or on this blog.

Thank you for supporting this mission - Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.


Pro-Life News from Our Eparchy

By Deacon Nicholas Mammi, Office of Family and Sanctity of Life, Eparchy of St. Maron

My Beloved Pro-Life Friends,
Just in case we need a bit of added sustenance from the Holy See, I've attached a link to a piece from the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that cites an article from L’Osservatore Romano. The article, published last week, notes that even in the face of powerful adversaries in the US Senate and White House, the pro-life truth continues to gain momentum. The article also supports the Manhattan Declaration (the second link I've included). I strongly encourage you to read it and sign it. If you review the list of Religious Leader Signatories, you will see some noteworthy Catholic names. Bishop Gregory Mansour signed the declaration yesterday.


Altanta Fundraiser

Many thanks to Abouna Dominque and the parishioners of St. Joseph's Maronite Church in Atlanta for hosting a fundraiser lunch on November 15 as a benefit to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.  Louis and Reem Ragy coordinated this event with the help of many, serving a catered Italian meal in the church hall after the 11:00am Liturgy.  Louis was able to present Sister Marla Marie with nearly $4,000 in donations from this event.  These funds, representing the generous charity of the people of St. Joseph's, will be used to support the operating expenses of the Monastery. 


Season of Announcements

The Season of Announcement is a commemoration of those events surrounding and culminating with the incarnation of Jesus. The season opens with the announcement to Zechariah that John, the Forerunner of Jesus, was to be born.
Mention of the archangel Gabriel, whose name means “God is strong,” is found in the Old Testament. The archangel appeared to the prophet Daniel and spoke of the end of time when God will come to judge his people (Daniel 8: 16-26; 8: 21-27). In the New Testament, the appearance of Gabriel to Zechariah is an indication that Gabriel is completing his mission and that the final days have begun. Although almost two millennia have intervened since the birth of John the Forerunner, it must always be recalled that we are living in the “end times” – the fulfillment of all that has been promised.
Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, a descendant of Aaron, a member of the priestly caste. This appearance took place while Zechariah was fulfilling one of the priestly functions, the offering of incense at the Temple altar.
The prophecy of a birth of a son was not only good news for Israel, but also good news for the aged Zechariah and Elizabeth. For years they had been living under the curse of having no children. Gabriel now told them that Elizabeth, in her old age, was to give birth to a son. The news given to Zechariah and Elizabeth recalls the promise given to Abraham and Sarah: they too were childless, but were promised descendants.
Although he knew that nothing is impossible for God, Zechariah doubted the message. In order to bring him to belief, Gabriel gave him a sign: Zechariah was to be mute until the birth of his son. This sign given to Zechariah is intended for all of us. John the Forerunner is the link between the Old and New Covenants. With the coming of the Savior, the Old will be silenced and the New Covenant proclaimed. Filled with the spirit, we cry out with Zechariah, “Blessed are you, O God!”
The early Fathers provide us with an interesting epilogue to this account. They taught that Zechariah was martyred because he refused to disclose John’s hiding place to Herod’s soldiers (Matthew 23:35).

(Taken from the Maronite Divine Office referred to as the Prayer of the Faithful, SYNAXARION page 260.)


Why am I Studying for the Maronite Priesthood?

By Joseph Azize
Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, 15 August 2009

By the grace of God, and the permission of my bishop, I am studying for the Maronite priesthood. I feel a fulfilment I can hardly describe. Indeed, my personal feelings don’t count for very much, so there is little call to try and describe them. But, given my considerable age (I am 51 years old), and so am more than twice as old as most men who are considering the priesthood, it may be of interest to speak of the signs of my vocation to Holy Orders, rather than the biographical details. I am not speaking of the priesthood which all believers share, but of Holy Orders.

The big sign pointing to this vocation is, I feel, that I burn with a particular aim: the worship of God by the reverent service of the Mysteries (the sacraments), especially the Eucharist, and, ancillary to this, to spread the understanding and love of them. Jesus’ purpose in establishing the sacramental priesthood was to spread the Gospel and to raise ministers of the Mysteries. If you do not believe that in the Eucharist, transubstantiation takes place, and the bread and wine become Jesus Our Lord in his body, blood, soul and divinity, you do not have a vocation to the Maronite priesthood, which is a sacramental priesthood. Yet, even if you do have this aim to minister the Mysteries to God’s people, and to offer the great unbloody sacrifice of the Eucharist, you may not have a vocation to be a priest.

The second sign, I would say, is preparedness to suffer, and for me, this came late. I am not just referring to poverty, although this is involved to a greater or lesser degree. The priesthood is not and cannot be another career, or a different job. It is a sacrifice, a daily sacrifice of one’s self, in the service of the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the Gospel. One must go into the priesthood knowing that if one is a good priest, suffering will come your way. There is no need to make it, it will find you. You will not be able to satisfy all of your colleagues let alone all of your parishioners, and there are many who will resent you whatever you do. Our Lord said in Jn 15:20:
The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.[1]
We must be prepared to suffer the bones and gullet pangs of confronting the bitter truth about ourselves for the salvation of our souls and in imitation of Christ.

The third sign is preparedness to obey the Lord and his commandments, although they may seem hard to us. This will mean accepting and defending the teachings of his Church, no matter how unpopular with the world they may be – and they are, in an increasing number of respects, unpopular, and even ridiculed and mocked. It will mean conforming our practice and teaching to that of his Church, even if other Catholics urge us to water them down, e.g. by countenancing or participating in respect of liturgical abuses or by teaching lax doctrines (both of these challenges come together when a person who is not at all repentant seeks absolution of sins).

The fourth sign is a love of Holy Scripture and a reverence for, and desire to better understand the teachings of the Church. These two go together, after all, the make up of Holy Scripture, and how to soundly interpret it, are teachings of the Church. I, personally, had troubles with certain teachings of the Church, for example, I was worried by the authority of the Papacy, especially in relation to the authority of Councils and the bishops. But I have given the matter devoted study, and in doing so, found that I had not really understood the Church’s position, and that in clarifying it, I deepened my understanding of other issues. For example, I saw how it was providential that one as feeble as St Peter should have been the rock, as opposed to the more impressive St James and the more brilliant St John.

I also reflected, looking back over my life, how in the course of it I had learned the biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew, and studied the Church and her teachings. For example, although I was not then considering the priesthood, I wrote a thesis on St Ignatius of Antioch, and wrote academic articles on the book of Ecclesiastes. I never, even in my darkest moments – and boy were they dark – had stopped reading good Catholic authors like Newman and Chesterton.

My fifth sign is simply this: I have fallen out of love with the values of the world and in love with the values of God. I am still an imperfect lover, but I can say that whereas I used to become at least a little bit jealous of the careers of people who made more money or seemed to have achieved more, I am beyond caring for success as measured by the standards of the world. I could give other examples, and may in the discussion.

Finally, I did, when I was young, believe I was destined for the priesthood. I never forgot this, but took it as a foible of childhood. Now I know better, I realise that it was an essence quality, and so it shone when I was very young, and has been recovered at the same time as he has shown me the vanity of the world. If you did not have this feeling of destiny when you were young, you may still have a vocation. This is, I think, a very subjective thing. Some people, e.g. some women, have all their lives believed that they were called to the priesthood, and yet they cannot be correct (at least in respect of the Catholic priesthood, which is a sacramental one and can only administer the Mysteries as he authorised). Others are surprised if not shocked to discover their vocation much later in life.

I can sum up all of these signs by saying that the priest must be prepared to be another Christ, and to take up your cross. If your life has prepared you for this, and if you desire it as the master-aim of your life, then you may have a vocation. Then, your bishop will provisionally confirm this when you are accepted as a candidate for priesthood, and gives his final confirmation when he ordains you into Holy Orders.

Joseph is preparing for priesthood in the Maronite Eparchy in Sydney, Australia.

[1] Note his prophecy in Mt 5: (11) Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: (12) Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets ... before you.


Maronite Young Adult Workshop

MYA members from 17 parishes gathered in Miami October 30-November 1 to attend a leaderhip workshop in order to promote and strengthen parish MYA groups.  More photos are available at the MYA Facebook.


The “dc”

By Kelly L. Colangelo

It was the summer before my sophomore year of college that I found myself in a dusty old church closet. There were books that looked like they were from the 1930s, old pictures, tables full of junk, about 100 crucifixes’ and a certain musty smell in the room.
It was Sr. Marla Marie who recruited me to help her clean this closet… something I regretted saying yes to at first, but now I am forever grateful. My job was to throw old things out, label boxes, clean, and make everything neat. Easier said than done!
As our time progressed with the project, it became known as the “damn” closet. Sr. Marla Marie would ask, “Where are you Kelly?”and my response would be: “I’m in the “dc”, Sister.” My immediate feeling once the job was done was relief because it was finally over. After a couple of months and even up to the present moment, this experience was life changing.
Blessed with loving parents, one older sister, and a small extended family, I grew up in upstate, New York in a small city. My parents instilled in me the value of faith and education. I was educated in Catholic and public schools. My parents and teachers inspired me to work hard and they laid down a solid foundation for my character and faith formation.
Throughout my life I have been fortunate having known religious and priests who have shown me their love of God through the love and service that they have shown their neighbor. They are real heroes. My positive experiences with priests and religious that I knew as a child, teenager, and college student nourished in me a strong trust in the Church and all that She teaches.
All of them are people of great faith; always praying and helping others. I was and still am struck by their enthusiasm for young people and their passion for God. I am a better person because of knowing them. We need priests and religious to serve as examples of holiness God’s mission in our world.
Who I am today is partly because of religious. Among them, is Sr. Mary Cepha, who helped to show me the true meaning of giving. Around Christmas time, I visited apartment homes for elderly people with Sr. Mary Cepha and together we slipped Christmas cards under apartment doors. This three hour project brought joy and Christ to the residents. During my participation in the Life Teen program, I experienced Sr Mary Eileen’s enthusiasm for youth ministry.
Then, there is Sr. Linda Jean, a parish visitor who prepared me my first communion and many years later assisted me with planning a mission trip for teens in my youth ministry program. I visited her in the Bronx prior to the service weekend to set up the arrangements. The next day for breakfast, Sr. Linda had 17 different choices for me! Her hospitality and kindness were unconditional.
I will always be grateful to Sister Marla Marie as I got to journey with her best smile, warm greeting and sense of humor that is better than most comedians. Through being with her and seeing her visits with others, she is able to give people a sense of value for who they truly are. I will never forgot how she prayed with me… or how she took me to World Youth Day in Germany. She became and is my dear friend and confidant. It is in these moments where her zeal and passion for serving Christ shows me a perfect example of what it is to be a Sister. The best piece of advice she has given me is to “remember who you are”.
Then, there was Fr. Mike Mazurchuk, a Vincentian priest who helped deepen my relationship with God through daily Mass and retreat opportunities. He was so giving of himself to others, I saw the face of Christ through him. I will never forget Fr. John Wood’s kind heart. Fr Wood always remembered to ask me about my college classes, friends, and family. Fr. Robert Conrad had the best jokes! He supported me and came to my high school hockey games. Fr. Felix Colosimo’s down to earth approach to people and the faith have been an encouragement to me.
I remember them all. These and many other religious and clergy have had a tremendous influence in my life.
Who knew that a dusty, old church closet could be so meaningful? Because of it, Sr. Marla Marie became a fixture and role model in my life. I have been inspired to live the Catholic life of faith and to serve others. With joy in my heart, I seek to serve Christ in the persons of those in need. Thanks to that “dc”!

Kelly Colangelo is a 2007 graduate of Niagara University and just received her Masters degree in May from Syracuse University. Since 2007, Kelly has been serving as the Youth Minister at Immaculate Conception Parish in Fayetteville, NY.


Visiting Brocton MA

Our Light Shines

An email from David Shipman of St. Theresa's in Brockton, MA.

"I thought you might appreciate this. You gave my MYO class a key chain light this morning. When I opened it this evening the light did not work. I showed my 19 year old son and joked, is God trying to tell me something? I then did the laundry and forgot to take the light out of my pocket. It flashed through my mind that maybe it will work afterwards. Wouldn't you know it, it worked after I retrieved it out of the wash. It was a nice metaphor for how when we are cleansed by the blood of Christ our light shines."


The Rosary and Maronite Spirituality

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.
Origin of the Rosary
The Rosary, the blessed beads that quietly slip between our fingers as we pray over the mysteries of Jesus’ redemptive life, has an ancient origin. Most likely it originated in the ancient East and not in the medieval West, perhaps in India. It was and still is a popular prayer device among the Muslims, who use the Arabic term masbahat , which means to give praise. Devout Muslims used the masbahat in repeating the attributes of God, just as it was used by the early Christian hermits. Following the Crusades the Rosary found its way to the West. The missionary who worked hardest to spread this devotion was Abed El-Ahad, Saint Dominic, and his Dominican companions.
The Rosary became a popular method of prayer and spread quickly in the West during the Middle Ages. For Christians it has always been “the Gospel strung on beads.” It is a simple and easy prayer that can be employed for vocal prayer or silent contemplation by individuals, families, and communities.
Papal Encouragement
Since the 16th century the popes have frequently encouraged the faithful of East and West to pray the Rosary. The first was a Dominican pope, Saint Pius V, who wrote a papal letter about the Rosary in 1569 shortly after the Council of Trent, and instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
In the late 19th century after the First Vatican Council the illustrious Pope Leo XIII wrote more than ten encyclicals and instructions promoting the use of the Rosary.
To make pastoral applications of the Marian teachings of the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI in 1974 authored the apostolic exhortation Devotion to Mary (Marialis Cultus). Paul VI discussed the Rosary at some length as a summary of the Gospel comprised of prayers based on Gospel texts. He urged the faithful to pray the Rosary, and especially recommended the family Rosary in these words:
“We would like now to join our voice to the voices of our predecessors and strongly recommend the prayer of the Rosary in the family…because the Christian family is a family church….If the family neglected this communal prayer, it would lose its character as a Christian family.”
“In addition to the prayer of the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) …the Rosary of the Virgin Mary would be the most preferable communal prayer for the Christian family.”
Pope Paul VI concluded his recommendation by saying: “We would like to repeat that the Rosary is an excellent and magnificent prayer….”
In a pastoral letter about the 1987 Marian Year, our Patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, encouraged all Maronites to honor the Mother of God by praying the Rosary.
Pope John Paul II, enthusiastic devotee of our Blessed Mother, in 2002 issued a pastoral letter entitled The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, in which he proclaimed October 2002 until October 2003 the Year of the Rosary, and put forth the Luminous Mysteries based on the public life of Jesus.
Our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, values the prayer of the Rosary as a means of contemplating Jesus with Mary’s eyes. For him pondering the mysteries of the Rosary calms a “restless spirit, allows the soul to settle into tranquility…and grants a vision of God.” He associates the Rosary with consolation and healing, an inner refuge which enfolds us “in the rhythm of the prayer of the whole Church.” “I do it quite simply,” he said, “just as my parents used to pray.”
The Rosary Today

Unlike some Eastern Christians who erroneously consider the Rosary foreign to Eastern spirituality, Maronites have emphasized the prayer of the Rosary for centuries. On a visit to Maronites in Lebanon in 1580, Jesuit Father Eliano recorded that he brought them “about one thousand rosaries.”
Early on, the Rosary was a common method of prayer in the East among Christians and non-Christians. Even though it came to us through Western missionaries, it was and still is an easy and rich method of prayer to help the faithful fathom the mysteries of God along the journey of salvation. And we do so with a special companion, the Mother of God and our Mother. Praying the Rosary, particularly in the family, is an excellent method of bringing us together in the faith under the protection of her who always and everywhere intercedes for all people. Let us spare no effort to remain close to her.

(Brother John is a Lebanese American in the Congregation of the Marianist in Cupertino, California.)

During October, the month of the rosary this is a good video on the Rosary.



Thank you to my Maronite friends at St. Joseph's in Atlanta for fundraising and purchasing this beautiful car for the Maronite Servant mission.

Sisters of St. Basil

In July '09, I had a blessed visit and stay with the Sisters of Saint Basil at Mount Saint Macrina in Uniontown, PA. I spent a few days there with Sister Barbara Jean in consultation on religious formation. Read more about the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province. "The Sisters of St. Basil the Great, a religious order of the Eastern Catholic Church, was founded in the 4th century by St. Basil and his sister St. Macrina. The Basilian Sisters came to the United States from Ukraine in 1941..."
Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM... Currently, she serves as vocation directress, directress of the community's Association Program, and the program director of the Mount Saint Macrina House of Prayer (formerly the Retreat Center) located in Uniontown, Pa. After teaching in parochial schools for nine years, Sister earned a Master's Degree in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, and she then began her ministries in retreat work, spiritual direction and parishes. For twelve years, Sister Barbara Jean served as the Assistant General Superior of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great with residence in Rome and frequent ministry among the Sisters in Eastern Europe.
Since living at Mount Saint Macrina, Sister Barbara Jean has participated in each of the LifeQuest weekends held there. She has also worked with committees in preparing formation guidelines. Sister also serves as a Provincial Councilor.
(Bio taken from the OSBM website.)


What does it mean to be Maronite Catholic?

By Curtis Taylor
When people see my Maronite Cross, they ask-what does that mean? Is that a telephone pole, a menorah, or a tree? I usually just laugh off the simple question and respond with it’s a cross. It’s my religion. This usually ends up striking up an enlightening conversation with someone about my faith that I am truly happy to oblige to.
To me, being a Maronite Catholic is unlike any other religion in the world. We express our faith in such a beautiful and touching way that it not only spiritually enriches the soul, but it also stimulates the mind and body. When I think about the Maronite Church, I think of the homeland, Lebanon, the youth, the Antonine Sisters, the Maronite Servants, the priests and deacons, our bishops, and how we all desire that strong and passionate, spiritual relationship with God. Being Maronite, we have one of the most beautiful LIturgies you will ever go to, in my opinion. The fluidity and culture, and tradition we Maronites express during our Liturgy gives us a sense of pride in our faith, our homeland, our culture, and our churches.

I have tried, especially now being a college student, to go to other Catholic Churches. I attended a Roman Church which was beautiful and an the Mass was amazing, but in the end, something was missing…it just wasn’t my Maronite Liturgy. I don’t know…I guess what I’m trying to say is nothing compares to my Maronite faith. I know, even through college and the lowest of lows, my faith in my church, The Maronite Catholic Church, Our Lady of Lebanon, and God will always be on my side and will strengthen me to do what is right and acceptable to live a Maronite Catholic life.

Curtis, 18, is attending Marquette University in Milwaukee studying International Business and Arabic. He is from Wadsworth, Ohio and attends Our Lady of the Cedars in Akron. He hopes to attend the Maronite Church in Chicago at least once a month while in school.


September Visits

Little Brothers of St. Francis, Fr. Bill Salmon, and guests shared Ramsho at Mother of the Light Monastery (Weymouth MA), followed by a Lebanese dinner.

Sister Marla Marie had the blessing to meet Archbishop Joseph Soueiff, of the Maronite Eparchy in Cyprus. His Excellency was born in Chekka, Lebanon in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987.


Visiting Pittsburgh & Aliquippa

September Events

Franciscan University Vocation Fair, Steubenville OH September 18.
Diane Montagna of Uniontown PA was on hand to help with the Maronite Servants display table. Sr. Marla Marie poses with fellow Lebanese American religious.

In Worcester MA with Father Charles Aboudi, a Melkite priest who is related to Sister on her maternal side.


If Today You Hear His Voice...

By Ian Van Heusen
It is appropriate that I take a moment to reflect on how I came to the decision to enter seminary and say “yes” to the priesthood. However, in the words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “be not afraid,” this will not be a blog entry about myself or my background. Instead, I want to explain my growth within the womb of the Maronite Church where my vocation was spiritually nourished.
The Maronite Church has and continues to make a unique contribution to the Catholic Church. Through her history, the Maronite Church bears witness to the fact that the Catholic faith has its roots in the Middle East and that the Catholic faith is not an invention of the Roman Empire as many throughout the world try to falsely insist. But the Maronite Church is more than just the “Church of Lebanon.” There is more to this Church than can be confined to one ethnic group.
Chorbishop Michael Thomas once stated that the Maronite Spirituality is not a Good Friday or an Easter Sunday theology, but rather a Holy Saturday theology. His point was that the Maronite Church does not emphasize the crucifixion of Christ, nor does it emphasize the resurrection, but rather Maronites focus on that time when Christ was in the tomb; when the world eagerly awaited its redemption.
This does not mean that Maronites ignore those important facts of the faith, but rather that the Spiritual Fathers of the Maronites saw in the tomb a symbol for our spiritual journey. When we become Christians in our Baptism, we are called on to think about others and their concerns before we think about ourselves. This is called “dying to oneself.” When we die to ourselves, as Christ died, we also enter into a spiritual tomb where we await the resurrection of our bodies. This tomb is our daily lives, where we try to draw closer and closer to the glorious day of our Resurrection. The function of this world is not to maximize pleasure, but rather to prepare for the next.
The Maronites don’t just talk about this in their liturgy; they live it in their lives. In my home parish of St. Michael’s in Fayetteville, North Carolina, I have seen how everyday people live in eager anticipation of the resurrection. I do not mean that they walk around saying to people, “I just can’t wait to be resurrected.” No, what I see in these people is how they hold onto the hope that there is a meaning and purpose to the sufferings and struggles of everyday life.
Many of them suffer immense sorrows, but you could not tell that by visiting our parish. The intensity with which we worship God, the joy with which we receive God and eat of his flesh and drink his blood, all bear testimony to the fact that we are citizens of heaven and of the resurrection. We do not live for this world, but the next. We come together and our hearts and souls are transported to heaven where we sing with choirs of angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.”
When I think of what it means to have a vocation to the Priesthood or to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light, I don’t think of ideas, but rather people. I think about the great joy of bringing the hope, faith, and love of my home parish and enlightening the world with the living flame of Christ.
If you think you might be called to bring Christ to world, listen to the words of scripture that proclaim, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.”

Ian is a seminarian for the Diocese of Raleigh and is currently attending St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. His sister, Tresa Van Heusen is an applicant with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.


The Feast of the Holy Cross

By Father Anthony J. Salim, Pastor of St. Theresa's in Brockton MA

That the saving Cross of Jesus Christ is at the centre of the Christian experience is beyond doubt. The most traditional of Christian theology from the time of St Paul on says that without the great sacrifice of his life for the taking away of sins we would not be able to reach eternal happiness with the Blessed Trinity.
If pushed, when thinking of the Cross of Christ, most Christians would probably think of Great Friday before Easter. However, since the 4th century, with the story of St Helena's finding the true Cross, this great feast, celebrated on 14 September, tells us of the "other side" of the Cross: glory after suffering, and God's power to save.

This feast marks the last season of the Maronite liturgical year. The Exaltation of the Cross commemorates the finding of the relics of the Cross by St Helen. Before 337 A.D., this event was attributed to the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine, who built basilicas at Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher. His mother, St. Helen, who built churches on the sites of the Nativity and of the Ascension, earned so great an admiration of our ancestors that, by the latter part of the century, they gave her credit for finding the Cross.

Helena (or simply Helen) was born of lower class in the Roman Empire in the city of Drepanum in the middle of the third Christian century. This low social standing caused a certain amount of criticism; and sad to say some even compared her to prostitutes. She married into the wealthy class, but her husband divorced her in 292. Nevertheless, when her son Constantine became the Emperor of Rome, she moved there in 312 and attitudes toward her changed. She was given the title given to some Roman emperors: Augusta.

Because Constantine made some important imperial changes protecting Christians in the Empire, the Augusta Helen too accepted the Christian Faith and was baptized. Helen had a great desire to visit the places where Jesus walked and decided to journey to the Holy Land. One of her goals, it is said, was to find the True Cross of Christ. Thus, in 327 to 328 she made a pilgrimage there. The Christian historian Eusebius remembers her trip in a kindly way, telling his readers that not only did Helen visit the holy places but helped the poor and needy, as she believed that is what Jesus asks of his followers in every age. She and her son the emperor dis- cussed that fact that the holy places needed somehow to be remembered in some concrete way. He suggested that churches be built at these places. Some of these magnificent churches - or at least their ruins - and their fine architecture and design remain today.

St Helena's pilgrimage to the Holy Land gave birth to the creation of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is universally celebrated on 14 September in the whole Church.
Christian Tradition has always seen two sides of this Cross: death and shame, yes, on Great Friday of the Crucifixion; but glory and power as well. It is not always easy to speak about this paradox of the Christian life. Paul indicates this in his First Letter to the Corinthians, verses 18 to 25. Who could imagine then that a criminal's death could be the standard of a religion?
We are, in the words of Paul, "on the way to salvation"; thus, we believe this talk of the Cross.

As always, our Liturgy teaches us about our Faith. Pray these words found in the Divine Liturgy of the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:
Jesus Christ our Lord, accept our prayer and incense which we have offered in commemoration of the exaltation of your Holy Cross. May your Cross always be before our ryes, so that with you, we may go to death and rise in glory at your right side to celebrate the feast of your eternal victory. We glorify you, with your Father and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen!


Thank You Knights of Lebanon

The Knights of Lebanon from Wilkes Barre PA hosted a picnic fundraiser for the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light on Sunday August 30, 2009. The event was held on their picnic grounds in Dallas PA, and opened with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Hanna Karam, pastor of St. Anthony & St. George, Wilkes Barre. Following the Liturgy was a feast of a meal featuring a pig roast among the variety of picnic foods and desserts. Tony Thomas, Jr., president of the group was pleased to present Sister Marla Marie with a donation of $2000 from the proceeds of the event. Thank you to Tony and the Knights for supporting the mission of the Maronite Servants.
The group photo is a gathering of some of the Knights of Lebanon; Fr. Hanna and Sub-deacon Crosby celebrate the Liturgy; Tony Thomas adds a gourmet touch to the pig roast.

Parish Visits - August '09


God’s Mysterious Ways

By Tresa Van Heusen
“The Lord works in mysterious ways.” A phrase we often hear, or often say ourselves. This phrase may seem truest when you are able to look back over certain events in your life and see how the Lord has guided your life to help follow his will for you. I find this phrase comes to mind frequently these days as I examine events over the past eight years of my life and how they have lead me to this day on a discernment retreat with Sister Marla Marie and the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. All of this came to be with the help of my parents, three priests in the Maronite Church, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

A little over eight years ago, if you had asked me what a Maronite is, I would have had no idea! In 2001 my parents moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina. As whenever they move, they were quickly looking for a Catholic Church to call their new parish. At first they worshiped at one of the many Latin Rite Catholic Churches in the city, but for different reasons my father did not feel at peace in the church. My father noticed a small sign leading off the main road near their house that read “Catholic Church” and he was intrigued. So, one Sunday my parents decided to attend this small church, Saint Michael the Archangel, nestled inside a residential neighborhood. Following the Liturgy, my parents greeted the pastor of the church, Abouna Jack Morrison, and were immediately asked to volunteer in different ways. My parent’s enjoyed the Liturgy, the closeness of the parish and pastor, and found their new home at St. Michael the Archangel.
When my mother first informed me they were attending a Maronite Catholic Church, my first response was – “you can’t go there, it’s an Eastern Orthodox Church.” My mother then began to educate me that Eastern Rite Churches are members of the Catholic Church and full in communion with the Pope.

Over the next five years I began to learn about this beautiful jewel in our universal Catholic Church – the Maronite Church. It was fascinating to learn about the richness of our Catholic Church and I enjoyed attending Divine Liturgy whenever I was visiting my parents in North Carolina. I never had any intention of seeking out a Maronite Church for myself, but I always enjoyed worshiping at St. Michael’s during my visits.

In August 2006, I was in the middle of a move and visiting with my parents in North Carolina for a few weeks before departing to my new home in Atlanta, Georgia. I was due to depart early in the week, but because of car troubles I had to stay a few extra days. The night before I finally left, the new pastor at St. Michael’s held a parish meeting. Interested in meeting the new priest, I went to the meeting with my mother. The new pastor, Abouna Sam Najjar, gave an opening talk with some information about himself. A few times in the night he mentioned his home parish in Atlanta – Saint Joseph’s Maronite Church. I was excited to hear there was a Maronite Church in Atlanta and sought out Abouna Sam at the end of the evening to ask him about this. While my first thoughts were that I would enjoy visiting the church and possibly go to Divine Liturgy every so often, I was surprised when I discovered the parish was located right where I intended to live in the city.

I arrived in Atlanta on a Thursday. My first Saturday I went in search of St. Joseph’s Maronite Church, introduced myself to the pastor, Abouna Peter Boulos, and was there understand the Maronite Liturgy, I quickly fell in love with the spirituality and beauty of the liturgy and found my new home.

Now, three years later, I find myself reflecting upon these events while I visit with Sr. Marla Marie in discernment to join the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. At the time these events took place over the years, I was not aware they were part of any bigger picture for my life. I thought it was interesting to learn more about the Catholic Church, but did not realize it was all leading me to this moment where I feel strongly the Lord is calling me to serve in life. Although these events seemed as mere coincidences, I now see more clearly that there are no coincidences in life and I recognize these events as great blessings from God. It is with great joy that I continue the application process in the hope to enter the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light in February 2010.

(The photo above shows Sister Marla Marie and Tresa aboard the Mayflower II in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Ancestors on Tresa's paternal side, the White Family, came to America on the Mayflower, 1620. Peregine White was the first white skinned baby boy born in America.)

Discernment Retreat

Sister Marla Marie and Tresa Van Heusen and were blessed to have a five day retreat (August 17-21) at the Trappist Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, New York. Abbot John Denberger offered enlightening conferences on the vocation of religious life. Tresa is an applicant with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.


Our Teachers

“Of special importance withinTradition is the witness of the Fathers, or Teachers (Maronite liturgy uses these terms interchangeable), in the early Church. These are believers who possessed the gift of being able to explain the Faith on which they reflected. Their writings have been of enormous importance for understanding the development of the teachings of the Catholic Faith as well as the interpretation of Scripture according to their respective Traditions within the general Tradition of the church. Because the writings of men were considered authoritative in this area, they are often known as the “Fathers” of the Church.
Of particular importance are those Teachers who lived during the time of the Apostles and were taught by them. They are known as the ‘Aspostolic’ Fathers. Some of these include: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Papias, et al. The value of their writings lies in the fact that they are so close to the time of the Apostles.
In addition to these, there were other Teachers who followed the Apostolic Fathers and continued to reflect on the mysteries of the Faith and to develop its theological understandings. These so-called ‘Sub-apostolic’ Fathers wrote in different regions of a Christianity now expanded beyond its Eastern Mediterranean origins. Included here are such people as the Syriac Teachers, which include Ephrem, Aphrahat, James of Sarug, and a host of Greek and Latin writers.
The whole Church has always valued the writings of the Church Fathers, and they remain essential to the knowledge of the development of the Church’s biblical/theological Tradition. We do well to be familiar with their writings, drinking deeply from their teachings.”
Icon of Saint Ephrem the Syrian
(Used with permission from page 124 of the book, “Captivated By Your Teachings”, by Father Anthony J. Salim, 2002.”

Assumption Pilgrimage 2009

Photos from the Maronite Servant's trip to the 44th annual Assumption Pilgrimage at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio. Sister Marla Marie attended with Tresa Van Heusen, an applicant with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.


Divine Liturgy at the Monastery

The Divine Liturgy is the life of the Church, and it is always a joy and awesome blessing when a Monastery is able to celebrate around the chapel altar. This joy was ours on August 10th when Abouna Jack Morrison celebrated the Holy Mysteries at Mother of the Light Monastery in Weymouth, MA.

Tresa Van Heusen proclaimed the reading, and Sister Marla Marie and Therese Abouzied formed the small congregation. Tresa is visiting for a three-week monastery experience as part of her applicant journey of discernment to join the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Please keep Tresa in prayer during this time of discernment, and offer prayers for more holy vocations.
As at every Liturgy, you the faithful were remembered in our prayer. May His radiant light illumine your mind and heart always.


Saint Maron's Relic

"Ornament of the Divine Choir of Saints"
By Guita G. Hourani
As monasticism thrived in Antioch and Mesopotamia, a hermit named Maron emerged with ascetic life. The earliest written records about Saint Maron (1) are found in Historia Religiosa of Theodoret (2), and in a letter of John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (344-407).
St. Maron’s fame circulated and attracted people from every region. He cured not only infirmities of the body, but applied suitable treatment to souls as well. He planted for God the garden that now flourishes in the region of Cyrrhus (3). A product of his planting was the great James, to whom one could reasonably apply the prophetic utterance, 'the righteous man will flower as the palm tree, and be multiplied like the cedar of Lebanon'. (4)
Treating souls and bodies alike through divine cultivation, St. Maron underwent a short illness and passed away. A bitter war over his body arose as an adjacent village came out in mass and seized this desired treasure. (5)
Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople dedicated his 36th epistle to Saint Maron while exiled in Cucussus (6), Armenia, around the year 405:
"To Maron: We address ourselves to your honour and we hold you constantly in our mind and carry you in our souls. Write to us often so we might be cheered by learning constantly about your health and receive much consolation as we sit in solitude. And above all please pray for us". (7)
A church was built in his name and a sarcophagus containing the Saint's body was housed in it. It is believed that later the Saint's skull was transported to Apamea where they built the famous Saint Maron Monastery. According to historian Al-Mas'oudi:
"There was dedicated to him a great convent located in Hamah. Around it were 300 cells, inhabited by monks. That convent was sacked by the many raids of the Arabs and by the cruelty of the Sultan.”(8)
Patriarch Istephan Duwayhi in his book T'arikh al-Azmina tells us that when the first Maronite Patriarch Youhanna (John) Maron settled in Lebanon during the 8th century:
"He built a monastery after Saint Maron's name and put Saint Maron's skull in it to heal the faithful. That’s why the monastery is called "Rish Mro" Syriac for Maron's head (9).
Luigi Jacobilli in his book Vite De' Santi e Beati Dell'Umbria (10) asserts that in the year 1130 A.D., Saint Maron's skull was again moved to Foligno, Italy.
“In regard to the relics of St. Maron, Jacobilli affirms that the Saint's skull is now preserved in Foligno after being transferred three times. The authenticity of the first transfer [from Syria to Sassovivo] is recorded in the Chronicon Monasterii S. Crucis Saxivivi, the other two transfers are noted in the archive of the Church in Volperino and the Town Hall of Foligno.” (11)
Saint Maron left a legacy behind him that flourishes today in a people named after him- the Maronites, found all over the world. Saint Maron's feast day is celebrated on February 9th which is an official national day in Lebanon.
(1) Other spellings: Maro, Maroun, Marun, Maroon.
(2) The text of Theodoret is published in "Patrologiae Graecae", vol. LXXXII, 1864, column 1417 and 1419 and that of John Chrysostom in "Patrologiae Graecae", vol. 51.3, 1862, the 36 epistle, column 630.
(3) Cyrrhus, Cyr, Quros, or Hagioupolis, is now Huru Pegamber in Eastern Turkey. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, vol. I, (Oxford, 1991), pp. 574-575.
(4) Psalm 92:12.
(5) Theodore of Cyrrhus. A History of the Monks of Syria. (Michigan, 1985), p. 119, note # 3.
(6) Cucusa, or Cucusus is now in Turkey.
(7) AbouZayd, S. Ihidayutha: A study of the Life of Singleness in the Syrian Orient: From Ignatius of Antioch to Chalcedon 451 A.D., (Oxford, 1993), p. 363.
(8) Al-Mas'oudi, Le livre de l'avertissement et de la revision,1897, p. 211.
(9) Khoury-Harb, A.The Maronites, p. 40.
(10) Jacobilli, Luigi. Vite de' Santi e Beati dell'Umbria, l. II, (Foligno, 1656), pp. 134-138.
(11) Ibid., column 1195 and 1196.

Abridged and reprinted with permission from back issues of the Journal of Maronite Studies, January 1997 Vol 1, No. 1. Guita G. Hourani is the chairwoman of MARI (The Maronite Research Institute).


A Nun or a Priest from Your Family?

By Sister Marla Marie Lucas
In speaking with parents about vocations, many are often reluctant to have one of their children devote their lives as a nun or priest. Yet at the same time, they are happy if someone else’s son or daughter is called to serve. These same parents readily acknowledge the need for vocations - as long as it is not one of their own. After all, they have plans for their son or daughter which perhaps include a future grandchildren, maybe a business or medical career.
I try to gently remind them that God also has plans. God's plan for our life is what we call a vocation. It is a blessing and honor to have a son/daughter called by God to the vocation of a priest or a religious.

Join me in prayer for parents and young people to have an open heart and mind to God's call, and to respond with trust and generosity.

Pope John Paul II realized this struggle for some parents, and spoke to them in his Apostolic Constitution on Consecrated Life (1996).

“I address you, Christian families. Parents, give thanks to the Lord if he has called one of your children to the consecrated life. It is to be considered a great honor — as it always has been — that the Lord should look upon a family and choose to invite one of its members to set out on the path of the evangelical counsels! Cherish the desire to give the Lord one of your children so that God's love can spread in the world. What fruit of conjugal love could be more beautiful than this?
We must remember that if parents do not live the values of the Gospel, the young man or woman will find it very difficult to discern the calling, to understand the need for the sacrifices which must be faced, and to appreciate the beauty of the goal to be achieved. For it is in the family that young people have their first experience of Gospel values and of the love which gives itself to God and to others. They also need to be trained in the responsible use of their own freedom, so that they will be prepared to live, as their vocation demands, in accordance with the loftiest spiritual realities.
I pray that you, Christian families, united with the Lord through prayer and the sacramental life, will create homes where vocations are welcomed.”


Maronite Youth Organization Retreat

Some of the retreat participants share their experience:

“It’s a great way to renew and grow spiritually.
…being able to share my beliefs with people.”
Prissilla Issa, Utica NY

“Listening and talking with the kids and helping them to grow spiritually is rewarding.”
John Dohar, Jr. Advisor, Youngstown OH

“I enjoyed the healing prayer – it was touching.”
Gabriel Moussa, Atlanta GA

“It’s a good time. …the talks are great.”
Zach Lewis, Utica NY

"The retreat is awesome."
Janine Kattar, Cleveland OH

"My favorite part of the retreat was the healing service."
Sarah Joseph, Pittsburgh PA


Reflecting on My Maronite Identity

By Kathy Homsy (A young adult from the Eparchy in Syndney. She is pictured above at the tomb of St. Rafka.)
Whenever I get asked by a Westerner about my religious beliefs I am forced to think about my answer before I reply. If I come out and say that I am Catholic, I would not be revealing my true identity; yet if I say that I am Maronite, I may be perceived as a non-Catholic. Therefore, my answer is never a simple one. It requires a long and informative explanation which will no doubt provoke many questions in order to be properly understood.

"Catholic" means universal and the Church has used this term since the beginning to refer to the universality and diversity of believers who profess the same true Faith albeit belonging to different traditions which are commonly known as Western Rites and Eastern Rites. The late pope, John Paul II expressed the Church's life and strength in a profound way when he stated that she breathes with two lungs - East and West alike. Due to a mass migration of Christians from the Middle East to the Western World, there is no longer, strictly speaking, a homogenous Catholic population in any western society. Catholics of all rites are now coexisting side by side and are struggling to educate their fellow brothers and sisters of the uniqueness and richness of their perspective Catholic traditions in the hope of gaining a deeper love and appreciation of the Faith.

I often joke around and tell Latin Rite Catholics that Maronite Catholics are the radical, fundamental and extreme members of the Church. I go on to brag about how we, Maronites, tend to be twice as pious in our everyday lives, twice as devotional to Our Lady and the Saints, twice as fervent in our prayers and hymns, and twice as willing to respond to God's call to religious life as other Catholics are. I guess Maronite pride is a result of the constant trials and tribulations experienced by our ancestors at the hands of Christian persecutors. I believe it is a miracle in itself that the Maronite tradition still exists today, and I thank God everyday for all the martyrs and steadfast preachers who were committed to preserving the Faith in the Holy Land of Lebanon, despite efforts by many to destroy it and wipe us out once and for all.

There are differences between the Maronite and Roman Catholic traditions. Adherents of both share the core beliefs and dogmatic teachings of Catholicism; however ecclesiastical law and practices differ. Although Maronites subject themselves to the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, we answer to the Patriarch of Antioch, who is the head of all Maronites around the globe, and to his fellow bishops who are appointed to lead and guide the faithful in Maronite Eparchys worldwide.

Another difference has to do with the Seven Mysteries (sacraments). Priests administer the mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation (Confirmation) to Maronites at the same time whereas Roman Catholics usually receive Baptism as infants and Confirmation once they have reached the age of reason. Maronite men who are called to the priesthood have an option to marry before their ordination, however, Latin Rite men are strictly forbidden to become married priests. During the celebration of Holy Matrimony, Maronite spouses partake in a crowning ceremony which is omitted in the Latin tradition. The Eucharistic celebration in the Maronite Church is exceptional and is often compared to a High Mass in the Latin Rite. The frequent use of incense, the powerful prayers and exaltations contained in the anaphoras, and the Eucharistic narrative which is recited in Aramaic, combine to bring the worship of the early Church and ancient liturgical practices of Jews in the Old Testament to life. A unique aspect of the Maronite tradition - and perhaps my favorite - is the Prayer of the Faithful (Divine Office) chanted by our monks every morning and evening while the congregation joins in. This form of prayer is often preceded by the "Oum Allah" ("Mother of God") hymn and followed by the Holy Sacrifice. It truly is heaven on earth!

Lastly, the liturgical calendar, seasons, Gospel readings, and feast days vary between the two traditions. There is no ordinary time in the Maronite tradition, instead there are seven seasons that make up one liturgical year: Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Passion Week, Resurrection, Pentecost, and Holy Cross. The readings during Divine Liturgy include passages from one of the New Testament letters, followed by the Good News taken from one of the four Gospels, which is welcomed by the acclamation of a Psalm. There is no reading from the Old Testament in a Maronite Liturgy.

Being a Maronite Catholic is a gift and a blessing. My role models are definitely the three glorious Maronite saints of Lebanon: St. Charbel, St. Rafqa, and St. Nemetallah, not to mention the extraordinary founder of the Maronite Church, St. Maroun. All four led a holy life and dedicated themselves to Christ and His Body, the Church. The best way for me to inform others of the rich Maronite Catholic heritage and portray the endless beauty of the Maronite tradition is to emulate the saints and martyrs who are a true imitation of Jesus and His Blessed Mother.

It is important for me to remain true to who I am. I was born a Maronite Catholic and I will die a Maronite Catholic. I am indebted to the Maronite Church and to the saints and martyrs who made countless sacrifices and offered numerous prayers to keep the flames of the Holy Spirit burning in the East. My mission is to light the same fire in the West, after all, Maronites are universal (Catholics).


NAM Convention 2009

These photos are of the 46th annual convention for the National Apostolate of Maronites hosted by Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon parish in Los Angeles.


Maronite Vocations Website

A new vocations resource for our Maronite Church in the United States is the website Vineyardofthelord.com . The site's title is taken from Luke 10:2 where Jesus is asking us to pray to God to send more laborers into his vineyard. "The harvest is plenty, but laborers are few..."
Creating and maintaining the website is the work of Fr. Armando El-Khoury, pastor of St. Rafka Church in Lakewood, Colorado. With the assistance of Fr. Dominique Hanna and Sister Marla Marie, the site features several Maronite resources to educate and promote vocations to priesthood and religious life, including videos, articles, essays, blogs, and photos. There are links to the Maronite Seminary, Vocation Directors of each Eparchy, and Maronite religious communities of men and women. (see below)
Visit the site and spread it to your mail list, especially to the MYO and MYA of your parish. Consider joining our national prayer effort for vocations explained on the site's link, "Pray for Vocations".

Religious Life
Third Order For the Laity
Church History Books
Liturgy Books

Get Involved
Pray for Vocations
Order of St. Sharbel

Sr. Marla Marie and Tresa Van Heusen, an applicant with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.