Brother Priests, Deacons and Subdeacons, Religious Men and Women, Seminarians, Lay Faithful, Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Year of Faith proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will begin October 11, 2012, and it could not come at a better time for our world. On the one hand in the Middle East, we have a religious fanaticism that threatens every peace-loving believer by a misguided sense of what God asks of us. On the other hand, in the West there is what the Holy Father calls a “crisis of faith” that makes even the best of believers question whether or not anything is objectively true. Thus everything seems to be “negotiable”, even to the point of thinking that we, not God, decide what is true and what has value.
This year in the United States we mark 40 years since Roe vs. Wade, which has made abortion a “right” throughout all nine months of pregnancy. We sadly note that assisted suicide is now on the ballot for Massachusetts. Marriage has been redefined in some states. The Federal Government has imposed “health” mandates, which, contrary to being healthy, impose on our consciences to do that which we firmly believe is wrong. Catholic institutions and faithful are faced with legal penalties if they do not accept this or other government decisions.
Somewhere between the misguided religious fanaticism of the Middle East, and the misguided secular fanaticism of the West, we Catholics must now know our faith better than ever, and live and pass on this faith, in all its splendor and beauty, to our children.
Our Holy Father’s recent visit to Lebanon brought the beauty of our Catholic faith into sharp contrast with what the world has to offer. For in between a world plagued by violence, division and hatred, and a world depressed by apathy, where nothing is true and good in and of itself, we Maronite Catholics find ourselves with a renewed mission and purpose for our weary world.
Dear brothers and sisters, only true, sincere, and reasonable faith, can save and guide us on the right path. Our marriages, our families, our engagement with society, our personal well being and happiness all need this faith in God.
It is my sincere hope that each one of us will find a way to renew our faith, rekindle its flame, water its seeds, planted so long ago by our ancestors, love and live this faith vibrantly within our Maronite Church with all the love of our hearts.
With prayerful best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ, +Gregory John Mansour