Our Patriarch

On my recent trip to Lebanon I was blessed to meet with our Maronite Patriarch in Bkerke. His Eminence offered me good wishes and blessings on the mission of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.

Here are some facts about the Patriarch:
His Eminence and Beatitude, Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir
Antioch and the Whole East
Patriarch of Antioch and All of the East
Period in office: 1986 to present
Created cardinal: November 26, 1994
Rank: Cardinal Bishop
Date of birth: May 15, 1920 Place of birth:
Rayfoun, Lebanon

(Here is an excerpt from an Introduction given by Bishop Gregory J. Mansour on the occasion of Patriarch’s visit to the US in 2006)
"The past 20 years our Maronite Catholic Church has been lead by an extra ordinary man. Before becoming Patriarch, he spent another twenty years behind the scenes assisting Patriarchs Meouchi and Khorieche. Patriarch Sfeir is basically a monk and Bkerke has been his monastery. He lives, prays, serves and leads as a monk. He is steady, practical, intelligent, faithful, relying totally on God. He represents the best of what the Maronite Church, her prayer and way of life is all about.
He is not a political man; nonetheless he is unafraid of speaking the truth, to ruffle feathers, to speak out for the cause of justice. He has stood before the most powerful, and been a friend to the lowly. He is strong with the strong, humble with the meek, astute with the crooked.
Where he lives in today’s Lebanon, is deeply troubled. It is also deeply divided. It is not easy to explain these divisions as Christian-Muslim, Shiite-Sunni, Political party against political party, Israel and Arabs. The problem facing Lebanon today, and the region as a whole, is the same everywhere: “every man for himself.” This is the sin of selfishness. No one can think of the other. Patriarch Sfeir has repeatedly warned against this kind of a world and has suffered because of it. Lebanon suffers, the world suffers. Patriarch Sfeir suffers. We hope, pray and pledge to redouble our efforts to work for a just solution to Lebanon and our world’s many problems.

His visit here has not disappointed us. Like Peter and Paul, the Apostles before him, our Patriarch has strengthened, challenged and encouraged us. For this we thank him and thank God. I hope and pray that the Maronite Church throughout the world, as well as every citizen and friend of Lebanon, will come to respect and love the priest, monk, bishop,Cardinal, and Patriarch who is Nasrallah Peter Sfeir and follow his wise guidance. Many say we respect the Patriarch, but when he says something they do not like, they reject his wisdom.
Let us pray for him and for his mission for Lebanon and the Church throughout the world, and let us pledge anew our obedience and willingness to serve the Church and our world under his leadership."