Pro-Life Allert -- FDA Approves "Ella"

By: Deacon Nicholas Mammi   Eparchy Of Saint Maron, Office of Family and Sanctity of Life

Deacon Nicholas and the Eparchy Pro-Life display at NAM.
My Dear Pro-Life Friends,

On August 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new drug called “ella” (Ulipristal acetate) for use as an “emergency contraceptive” up to five days after sexual intercourse. While promoted as a contraceptive drug, ella crosses the line between contraception and abortion. It has significant potential to cause abortion of a six to ten day old embryo. The drug inhibits progesterone, a hormone required for a healthy pregnancy. This, in turn, creates an inhospitable endometrium which will either prevent implantation or disrupt the already established implantation of the baby. As a result, the child will die from lack of nutrients and slough off in the woman's next menstrual cycle.
This new development is clearly in conflict with our Catholic Moral Teaching. Moreover, it can mislead women -- by product misrepresentation -- to unintentionally abort a child while their intention is to prevent conception. Please include this sad event in your daily prayers. Consider a phone call or written comment to the FDA, their advisors and federal officials who oversee the FDA. Please see the links and bullet points below that will assist in your further education and communications.
Drug Label Information --

How to contact the FDA --

FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee Roster --

Members U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee that oversees the FDA

Members U.S. Senate Committee that oversees the FDA

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new drug called “ella” (Ulipristal acetate) for use as an “emergency contraceptive” up to five days after sexual intercourse. The FDA approval blurs the line between preventing conception in the first place, and preventing implantation or even ending an established pregnancy after implantation, killing a person in the earliest weeks of life. If the mother’s endometrium is not hospitable or starts to shed prematurely, the 6-to-10-day-old embryo will have difficulty becoming or remaining implanted in the womb. According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters, 58% of women consider abortion morally wrong in most cases. Blurring the line between abortion and contraception undermines women’s informed consent.

It is a huge disservice to women of any religious faith (or none) who would not knowingly choose to abort.

Women and men alike deserve to know that ella can cause abortions. Its labelling, warnings and promotions should indicate such.

As always, thank you for your prayers and support for life!


Blessed Estephan Nahme

Brother Estephan and Lehfed  in Lebanon.  A great short video done by Corpus Christi Watershed giving a tour of this saint's hometown in the Byblos region of Lebanon. 


Assumption Pilgrimage 2010

By Tresa Van Heusen
For the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, the Maronite Servants travelled to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio. The pilgrimage was full of opportunities to gather, pray, share some great food, and to socialize with many Maronites from across the country, including our beloved Bishops, Robert Shaheen and Gregory Mansour, as well as many of our priests and sisters.
The pilgrimage took place from August 13th through the 15th and included the Maronite Divine Liturgy, Roman Rite Divine Liturgy, Melkite Divine Liturgy, Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy, as well as opportunities to say the rosary together and pray the Ramsho (Maronite Vespers) with the Antonine Sisters. Every evening concluded with a candlelight procession, to include fireworks over the Shrine on the day of the Feast of the Assumption. The pilgrimage was a wonderful opportunity to gather and pray with the faithful on an important feast in our Church.


Days of Retreat

We were graced to share in days of retreat and extended silence at the Mount Saint Marcrina House of Prayer in Uniontown, PA.  The spacious and scenic grounds of this monastery offered the perfect setting for our meditation and solitude. 
Our retreat was directed by Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, a member of the Sisters of St. Basil.  Currently, she serves as vocation directress and the program director of the House of Prayer.  The Divine Liturgy was offered each day by Abouna Nadim Helou, newly assigned pastor of St. George Maronite parish in Uniontown.  
The Maronite Servants with Sr. Barbara Jean in the Shrine
to  Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 
Our theme was "Seek My Face", in which Jesus calls us to a life of deeper prayer, especially through Sacred Scripture.
Tresa Van Heusen:  "On our first day of retreat we were asked to meditate on Isaiah 6. I was struck by..."here I am, send me!"  I found myself saying to him, "here I am, send me!"  With all the love and forgiveness I have received from Our Lord, my desire is to serve his will, to go where he wants me to go, and do what he wants me to do."
The House of Prayer Chapel (Byzantine Catholic Church).
Therese Touma:  "As a postulant, I found this retreat encouraging as it gave me the opportunity to get to know myself more in the light of the Holy Spirit, and to grow in my desire to see, know and love the Lord more deeply, as an intimate friend. I learned that if I want to grow in my friendship with Christ, then I need to give him more of a chance to speak to me, share himself and transform me into his image." 


Film about the Blessed Massabki Brothers

Fire in Damascus
This a new documentary telling the story of the Blessed Massabki brothers and their Maronite witness during the 1860 massacre. Take a few minutes to watch the trailer of "Fire in Damascus" and send Eric your comments (the link is in the above title). 
"Award-winning filmmaker and Watershed staff member Eric Hinojosa has been living in Lebanon, working tirelessly to bring to fruition a documentary film about the Blessed Massabki Brothers, the Emir Abd El-Kader, and the events surrounding the 1860 massacre in Damascus. The film tells of heroism and sanctity, showcases fascinating characters and sheds light on the Christian community in the Middle East."  (Watershed website)
Eric with Sister Marla Marie at the Monastery.


Maronite Servants on Retreat

Please remember us this week (August 8-13) as we take our annual silent retreat in the refreshing setting of the Monastery of Mount Saint Macrina in Uniontown, PA.  Be sure of our prayers for you.
From Uniontown, we continue on to the annual Assumption Pilgrimage at the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, OH (August 13-15). 

W A O B - New Catholic Radio Network

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour interviewed by Father Boniface.
By WAOB Staff

On July 22nd and 23rd, 2010 the staff of We Are One Body radio network had the privilege of welcoming to its studios Bishop Gregory Mansour, several Maronite priests, and Sr. Marla Marie Lucas, MSCL.

We Are One Body (WAOB) is a new Catholic radio network serving the universal Church from its main studios in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. WAOB began broadcasting on March 19, 2010 - the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We Are One Body radio network is a response to the call of the Church in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Social Communication, which teaches: The Catholic Church, since it was founded by Christ our Lord to bear salvation to all men and thus is obliged to preach the Gospel, considers it one of its duties to announce the Good News of salvation also with the help of the media of social communication…” (Inter Mirifica, 3)

In the same document, the Council Fathers placed particular responsibility for such endeavors in the hands of the Pastors, the Bishops, stating: “Pastors should hasten, therefore, to fulfill their duty in this respect, one which is intimately linked with their ordinary preaching responsibility.” (Inter Mirifica, 13)

One of WAOB’s principal aims is to support the Church’s Mission of Evangelization by offering her bishops and priests a means of communication which allows them to reach a wide audience, to teach and instruct souls in the truths of the Faith and the life of prayer, and to go in search of the Lord’s lost sheep.

WE ARE ONE BODY (WAOB) currently owns three radio stations, WAOB-FM 106.7; WAOB 860 AM and WPGR 1510 AM, that cover a population of approximately 3 million people in western Pennsylvania, the northern panhandle of West Virginia and eastern Ohio - reaching the faithful primarily in the Dioceses of Greensburg and Pittsburgh, and also in five surrounding dioceses in the Tri-State area. These stations also reach the Eastern Eparchies located within these geographical regions, including the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron. WAOB will also be reaching dioceses and eparchies throughout the world by broadcasting all programming over the Internet via live, streaming audio and by making it accessible through digital media and mobile devices. Using satellite technologies, We Are One Body will also make its programming available free of charge to any radio station(s) wishing to rebroadcast. In this way, bishops and priests will be allowed to reach the widest possible audience, both within and beyond their own dioceses.

Programming Content
The programming content being developed by WAOB focuses on broadcasting Catholic teaching rooted in Sacred Scripture, the Church’s magisterial documents, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and the writings of the Church’s doctors and saints. The goal is that these teachings will be given principally by Bishops since they, as the successors of the Apostles, are the Church’s authentic teachers (Lumen Gentium, 25).

WAOB’s programming also focuses on drawing listeners into interior silence and conversation with the Lord. This will be accomplished first and foremost by putting listeners in daily contact with bishops and priests who will offer reflections, teach and help listeners to live in a spirit of interior recollection and faith throughout their day, guide listeners in pondering the inspired Word of God in Sacred Scripture, read and provide commentary on papal encyclicals and other magisterial and ecclesial documents, and much more. This will also be accomplished by drawing listeners into an encounter with the Church at prayer – through the broadcast of the Holy Mass (Divine Liturgy or Service of the Holy Mysteries); the Liturgy of the Hours (also from different liturgical rites); the Scriptural Rosary; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and sacred music from East and West. Prayer is broadcast from basilicas, churches and shrines, seminaries, monasteries and religious communities, parish communities, lay groups, families and youth. Pope Benedict XVI recently said, addressing a Catholic Media convention: "If your mission is to be truly effective -- if the words you proclaim are to touch hearts, engage people's freedom and change their lives -- you must draw them into an encounter with persons and communities who witness to the grace of Christ by their faith and their lives.” WAOB is working towards just this goal.

WAOB offers its heartfelt thanks to the Maronite Bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful for their generous response to this mission. WAOB was pleased to broadcast the Service of the Holy Mysteries celebrated by Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, D.D. (Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, St. Louis MO) and Bishop Gregory J. Mansour (Eparchy of St. Maron, Brooklyn NY) during the annual MYO conference held this year in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, July 20-24. WAOB also currently broadcasts reflections given by Bishop Gregory Mansour; the Service of the Holy Mysteries from Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary in Washington, DC; and has most recently begun broadcasting Safro (Morning Prayer) from the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Their prayer is a most beautiful and welcome addition!
Bishop Gregory with the WAOB staff in Latrobe studios.