Three Ordinations for the Maronite Church USA

By Therese Touma

On Friday 25 June, the Maronite Servants attended the ordination of Father Vince Farhat at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Lansing, Michigan, his hometown. The ordination was presided by Bishop Gregory J. Mansour and concelebrated by Bishop Robert Shaheen, Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, Monsignor Michael Thomas and ten of our beloved Maronite priests from both Eparchies.  Following the ordination liturgy was a beautiful reception with Abouna Vincent’s family and friends.

We were blessed a second time the following day in Flint, Michigan with the ordination of Father Tony Massad. At Our Lady of Lebanon Church, his home parish, Abouna Tony was ordained by Bishop Robert Shaheen. Following the Liturgy, Abouna Tony’s family organized a great reception (much like a Lebanese wedding) to celebrate the joy of his new priesthood.

In the Rite of Ordination which takes place before the reception of Holy Communion, the deacons are vested, and processed around the Church carrying on their heads the Eucharist in a chalice covered with a veil. This poignantly symbolizes the handing-on of the priesthood to the new priest, and Christ’s Body being their crown. It is also a sign of the priest’s Eucharistic devotion.

As I reflect on the ordinations, one thing that stood out was Abouna Vince’s and Abouna Tony’s overflowing gratitude to God, to their family and friends, and the deep joy of their vocation in becoming “another Christ”.

Let us rejoice and thank God for out three new priests here in the US. Abouna Danny Abi Ackar was just ordained earlier in June in Lebanon. May they continue to persevere in their vocations of service and radiate the awesome light of Christ. Join us in prayer for all of our priests who nourish us with Christ and bring his healing love.

Ordination Fact
“There are three levels or offices of ordination in the Catholic Church: Bishop, priest, and deacon. These offices are known as major orders. In the Maronite Catholic Church, minor orders have also been retained as they are: Cantor, Lector, Subdeacon, Deacon, respectively. For a man to become a priest he must go through all of these levels sequentially, Cantor, Lector, Subdeacon, Deacon and then Priest. A man must be ordained a deacon before being ordained to the Priesthood. There are also permanent deacons in the Catholic Church, those men who do not go on to priesthood and they may be married men.”