Women’s Retreat - California

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light traveled to Southern California to facilitate a women’s retreat for Saint John Maron parish in Orange County.   A parishioner opened her home in Lake Arrowhead for the venue which offered a beautiful setting for retreat.  We began with 20 women on Friday evening August 24th and concluded Sunday morning with Divine Liturgy back at the parish church.   
Fr. Antoine Bakh, pastor, and the retreatants warmly welcomed us with their gracious hospitality. On the Saturday evening, Fr. Tony came to the mountain home to hear confessions and to bring the Blessed Sacrament for Eucharistic Adoration.
During the retreat, Mother Marla Marie gave three presentations on: finding strength, light and healing in the prayers of the Maronite Liturgy, how to reflect on the scriptures through Lectio Divina, and the importance and blessings of the Mysteries of the Eucharist and Penance.
Below are reflections from two of the retreatants:
“Your presence and spiritual guidance, at our first Saint John Maron women's retreat made the occasion ever more special and meaningful. Hearing how God called you into your vocations gave witness to His love and mercy in all of our lives.  I believe the light you radiated at the retreat gave us all greater insight, knowledge, respect and appreciation for our Maonite traditions and provided that feminine dimension of our church, that is so much needed here, in the United States.   Seeing you later, meeting, greeting, and speaking with our parishioners and youth gave me such a great feeling of hope for our church.”    Pattie

”The Woman's Retreat was such a success in so many ways . Everyone of the woman have not stopped talking about how each of them were ministered to in such a beautiful way with much love and kindness.  The combination of the Teachings and the Holiness of our Maronite Prayers, Songs and  Tradition  made it perfect for all the woman. It would not of been the same if we had arranged to have the retreat with someone else. Thank you for giving of yourselves completely this weekend and all of us are looking forward to you coming back in 2013.”  Regina


Syriac Melodies

(Taken from the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission website, link below)
"Syriac Chant is the authentic chant of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church.
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council affirmed that pride of place should be given to Gregorian chant in the Latin Church, it follows that that same precedence must be afforded to Syriac chant in the Maronite Church.
Due to various reasons, there are slight variations in some of the Syriac melodies. Which versions has the Music Commission chosen? Following the official Hymnal released by the Maronite Patriarchal Liturgical Commission (Bkerke 2008), we have chosen the versions of the Syriac melodies published in the scholarly work of Fr Louis Hage OLM (Musique Maronite Vol IIIA and IIIB, Kaslik, Lebanon 1990, 1991).
It is important to note that when the Syriac melodies are sung in Syriac or Arabic, it is possible at times to use alternative versions of the same Syriac Melody, e.g. Bo’ooto dmor ya’qoob. However, due to the nature of English language/syllabification, this is not possible in the English versions. To ensure that the English pronunciation is not compromised, the Music Commission has chosen which versions are suitable for a particular hymn, and has added a suffix to the melody title to make the distinction between the versions.
E.g. Bo’ooto dmor ya’qoob (Epiphany),
Bo’ooto dmor ya’qoob (Lent),
Bo’ooto dmor ya’qoob (Departed) etc.
To assist parish organists and music/choir directors, an MP3 recording of one verse of the different Syriac Melodies used in the Book of Offering (Mass Book) has been recorded."

Go to the Maronite Music website for excellent resources and music selections.   


2012 Assumption Pilgrimage - Ohio

We remembered you in our prayers during these holy days of pilgrimage at the Shrine to Our Lady of Lebanon.  Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us.


Studies in Syriac Theology

By Sister Therese Maria
In the first week of August we had classes with Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, rector of the Maronite Seminary in Washington D.C.  We covered an array of vital themes in Syriac Theology such as: God- Divine Mystery and Divine Intimacy, Creation and Sin, the Incarnation, Divine Revelation, the Redemption, the Holy Spirit and Divinization, the Church, Mary, the Mother of God, and the Mystery of Baptism.  
These classes were insightful as they further opened our eyes to the hidden mystery of who God is as “Father of Lights”, and expanded our hearts in praise and gratitude as we learned more of God’s “passionate” love for us and all of his creation. Chorbishop Beggiani constantly pointed out how these ideas are expressed so beautifully in the Maronite Liturgy, the Sacred Scriptures, the hymns of Ephrem and the writings of James of Seroug and other Syriac writers.
Below are two excerpts found in Chorbishop’s notes on God, Divine Mystery and Divine Intimacy quoting St. Ephrem and the Morning Office (Safro). These quotes reflect our Maronite tradition of praising Christ the Light who has rescued us from the darkness and filled us with his light.
In his Hymn of the Church, No. 36, Ephrem offers thanksgiving and praise to Christ the Divine Light:
“Give thanks to the Creator of the light wherein is depicted the heavenly Light; give praise to the Maker of the Light that is a symbol of the Light of our Savior!”
In the “Hymn of Light” the Morning Office declares:
“The Light of the just and joy of the upright is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Begotten of the Father, he manifested himself to us.
He came to rescue us from darkness and to fill us with the radiance of his light.
His glory shines upon the world and enlightens the very depths of the abyss.
Death is annihilated, night has vanished, and gates of shoel are broken.”


Encounter 2012

The Eastern Catholic Bishops of the U.S.A. are sponsoring three Encounters of their respective
Churches this year which will take place in three locations: Cleveland, Ohio (September 20-23), Los Angeles, Calif. (November 1- 4, 2012) and for the Eastern United States at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Hillsborough, N.J. (October 11-14, 2012). These gatherings and the one in Hillsborough in particular, are geared for the laity and clergy with the theme: “Together In Christ, The Spirituality OF Discipleship: A Call To Holiness.”

An Encounter is a time for all Eastern Catholics to meet and to grow in the Lord, and to study themes that would assist them in fostering more spiritual and educational growth in their parishes. By having an  encounter in our region, it will be easier and more convenient for more participation of the laity and  clergy. Also, follow- up meetings and programs within a certain region will provide more growth for our Churches since parishes of Eastern Traditions have so much in common.

The weekend Encounter (Friday evening through Sunday brunch) is mainly geared for the laity who are asked to arrive on Friday for a welcome and hospitality. The main focus will be on Saturday and Sunday. Four plenary sessions will be held.

The first session, entitled “Who is the Church?” will be led by Rt. Rev. Damon Geiger of the Eparchy of Newton. The second session, “Activity of the Royal Priesthood,” will be led by Dr. Maureen Dadonna of the Eparchy of Passaic. The third session, “Blueprint for Church Growth,” will be led by Sr. Marla Marie Lucas, MSCL, of the Eparchy of Saint Maron. The main session entitled, “The 'How" and 'What" of Lay Leadership: Action - Put on Christ!” will be presented by the Most Reverend Peter Libasci, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire.

On Sunday, Matins and the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated followed by the keynote address entitled, “Servant Leadership: Be All That You Can Be!” presented by the Most Reverend Nicholas Samra, Eparch of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.

For more information and registration, visit the website: Encounter2012EasternCatholicChurches.org.