Maronite Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon Dedication - D.C.

            Washington, DC, September 26, 2011 The new Maronite Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was dedicated on Friday, September 23, 2011.  The Most Reverend Gregory J. Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, presided over the ceremonies.  Joining Bishop Mansour were Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and Chairman of the Basilica’s Board of Trustees who was the homilist; Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services; Maronite Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon; Bishop Stephen Hector Doueihi, Bishop Emeritus of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn; Monsignor Walter R. Rossi, Rector of the Basilica; several priests and seminarians associated with the Shrine; and more than one hundred Maronite Catholics and other Catholic faithful who attended the momentous occasion. 
“This is a beautiful day for the Maronites and for the National Shrine,” commented Bishop Mansour.  “The Church breathing with both lungs.”

Monsignor Rossi added, “With the dedication of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon, one of the most ancient Eastern Churches is now represented at the patronal Church of the United States.  The Chapel visibly expresses the beauty of another distinct community in the Roman Catholic Church, the Maronite Church.   Deep gratitude is extended to Bishop Gregory Mansour and the entire Maronite Community for their support of this project and most importantly for their devotion to Our Lady.”

The Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon features a unique design, depicting a small Lebanese stone church.  The Chapel was designed by the St. Jude Liturgical Arts Studio of Havertown, Pennsylvania.

The nation’s only Maronite Seminary, Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary, which is located close to Catholic University of America in northwest Washington, D.C., celebrated its 50th Anniversary that evening, along with the 50th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Seminary’s Rector, Chorbishop Seely Beggiani. 

Bishop Mansour and the Maronite Church in America now await the arrival of the Patriarch of the Maronite Church, His Beatitude Bechara Peter Rai, on his first pastoral visit to America beginning on October 2.  Patriarch Rai is scheduled to visit the United Nations and multiple cities during his three-week trip to the United States and be featured at gala events across the country.  More details can be found at www.stmaron.org. 


Images of Light in Our Maronite Tradition

Taken from "Captivated by Your Teachings", by Father Anthony J. Salim

Images of Light
In the midst of doubt, darkness --whether physical, or spiritual, intellectual or emotional--can be dispelled by light. Our Maronite ancestors knew this truth, and they were fond of expressing much about the spiritual life in terms of light, which pervades the whole Tradition. As you pray the liturgical services, the image of light appears again and again. God is light; the Kingdom is one of light; faith is light in our souls. This image is prominent in the thought of the East. Nowhere is this seen better in the Maronite Tradition than in the Noohro, or .Hymn of Light,. in Morning Prayer of the Divine Office
(Safro). It says, in part:

The light of the just and the joy of the upright is
Christ Jesus our Lord.
Begotten from the Father, he manifested himself to us.
He came to rescue us from darkness and to fill us with
the radiance of his light..
Day is dawning upon us; the power of darkness is fading
From the true light there arises for us the light which
illumines our darkened eyes..
He brings salvation and grants us life.
He ascends to his Father on high.
He will return in glorious splendor and shed his light
on those gazing upon him.

This emphasis on light is not mere poetry. Light is a strong and vibrant image of the reality of God’s Presence among and power in us. Most of all, its very characteristic –brightness - is cause for our hope, on many levels of our life, here and hereafter.   The Maronite Divine Service begins with the Lighting of the Church. As the lights of the church are turned on, and the candles in the sanctuary are lighted, the Congregation sings:

In your light we see light,
Jesus, Lord of light.
You are true light
who enlightens all creation.
With your light enlighten us,
gladden us with your bright dawn.
Pure and holy One,
you dwell in heaven.s bright light.
Keep destructive hate and hardship
far away from us.
Help us live in righteousness;
help us purify our hearts..


Saint Shayna (or Abramius) & Saint Sassine- September 15

(Translation from the Maronite Martyrology)

Saint Abramius, also called Shayna (which means protection), was from Antioch, chief of a band of thieves. One day he wanted to rob a convent of nuns. He and his fellows dressed up as monks and entered the convent to rob it. The nuns received them in and one nun started washing his feet following the customs of the time and the place in receiving guests. One of the nuns was sick and paralyzed. She anointed herself with the dirty wash water and was healed. When Abramius saw this miracle along with the righteousness and holiness that reigned in this convent, he was so moved and immediately touched by grace that he decided to repent and give up his sinful way of life. At once he revealed his identity to the nuns and told them about his purpose for entering their convent. And to prove that, he showed them his hidden sword then put it in their hands to indicate granting them protection; therefore he was nicknamed Shayna meaning protection. He and his fellows became monks and ended their lives in works of repentance and asceticism. Shayna became their prior in the monastery. Through his guidance he converted a great number of pagans, then died in peace.

Saint Sassine was the bishop of the city of Cozikis. The governor of Cozikis arrested him. He bravely admitted his Christian faith. The governor got angry and ordered him to offer up to idols. He refused and began demonstrating that pagan worship and its superstitions are vain and that the Christian religion is the true religion. The governor raged and ordered him to be tortured. They tied him to untamed horses until his body got smashed. Then they whipped him hard but he held fast in his faith. They threw him in prison shackled with iron cuffs. When King Constantine the great rose to power, he defended the Church and liberated her from persecution; he released the holy bishop and restituted the bishopric seat to him. When the Arius heresy appeared, and the first Nicene Council convened in the year 325, Sassine began debating the followers of Arius and confuting them with his sound demonstrations. Then he returned to his seat spreading the teachings of the Nicene Council.
Galius was an enemy to Constantine and the Christians. He arrested bishop Sassine and inflicted upon him the worst tortures. He was beheaded and dies around the year 328.

Mahrajan - New Bedford

On Saturday September 10th, the Maronite Servants attended the Our Lady of Purgatory Mahrajan at Holy Ghost Park, South Dartmouth. Pictured here are the parish children entertaining the crowd with traditional Lebanese dancing.


Convent Blessing –Dartmouth

By Sister Therese Maria Touma
On Saturday  August  27th, the Maronite Servants happily welcomed His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour to their convent in Dartmouth. In between his pastoral visit to the parish of Our Lady of Purgatory, New Bedford, Sayedna came to bless our home and growing community.  We were deeply touched by his spontaneous and simple gestures and blessing, as he dedicated everything in our home, including our mission and the two present members to God, and to the building of His Kingdom of love and peace. After the blessing, we offered Sayedna and Abouna Jack Morrison (pastor of Our Lady of Purgatory) hospitality and refreshments in the main vestibule of the house.

We thank God for Sayedna Gregory, and we as a Maronite Church are truly blessed to have him as our shepherd, loving father and spiritual guide. We appreciate his dedication and ongoing support as we continue to establish our mission as Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.  Our prayers are with you Sayedna wherever you go!  
Note to our readers:  We are not yet living in Mother of the Light Convent due to delays in renovations, but anticipate to "officially" move in within a month's time. 


Cape Ann - Liturgy

We attended Divine Liturgy celebrated by Chorbishop Joseph Kaddo (representing His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour) at St. Ann’s Church Gloucester, M.A. This Liturgy was offered for the deceased and living members of the Cape Ann Lebanese Community, September 6, 2011.