A Vocation Reflection

By Natalie Salameh who will be joining the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light convent from Sydney Australia.

I would like to share about my second visit to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light from November 11 to December 11.   I happily begin my faith journey with the Maronite Servants in early 2014.  So I approached this trip secure in the knowledge that I would be serving God and His people in a wonderful way soon.

I am drawn to the vocation and charism of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light because I want to be God's instrument in nurturing and fostering the spiritual growth of our Maronite people. As the Bethlehem Star was radiant and led the Magi and Shepherds to the newborn King, I too wish to become another Bethlehem Star that radiates God's light and leads others to Him. This is precisely what a Maronite Servant is called to do. As a Maronite Servant, I will be at the service of God's people and His Church as a spiritual mother who nourishes and fosters the growth of her children.

During my recent visit, I immersed myself in the life that God is calling me to, and that I wholeheartedly and joyously embrace. What can I say, except, what a wonderful four weeks! I was very sad to leave my new home (the convent) and my new family - even if only for a little while, but I was able to witness the diversity of spiritual and religious events, programs and activities engaged in by the Maronite Servants.

In my first week, the Maronite Servants hosted a combined MYO gathering for the teens of the New Bedford, Brockton and Boston parishes. The Mother of the Light Convent was absolutely buzzing with the fresh faces of these youth. The Sisters helped them prepare for the Glorious Birth of Our Divine Lord.

In my second week, the attention turned to the young children of the New Bedford parish for their monthly Maronite Faith Formation (MFF). The focus of November’s MFF was the centrality of Divine Liturgy (or Qorbono) in our Maronite faith, and Jesus’ complete self-offering. I loved the fact that the children embraced the Syriac roots of our faith.

I might also mention that in my second week I had my first taste of delicious roasted turkey cooked to perfection by Mother Marla Marie. It was such a delight to celebrate my first Thanksgiving with the Sisters. The third week was filled with mission events. The Maronite Servants hosted and facilitated bible sharing for couples at the home of a parishioner.

A couple of days later, Mother Marla Marie, Sr. Therese Maria and myself, began a six-day silent retreat. I must say I approached this retreat with some fear and nervousness. I hadn’t been on retreat for years, and the last retreat I did participate in was not a silent one. But I found it very peaceful, prayerful and full of many graces and blessings. God is so good, but we need to listen to Him in the quiet of our hearts. As soon as I had regained my vocal powers, I called my family back home in Sydney, and my father could not believe that I had remained silent for six days.

On the Sunday following our retreat, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I witnessed Sr. Therese Maria renew her vows during the Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Purgatory Parish, New Bedford. It was a great honour for me to see this and the pure joy on Sr. Therese Maria’s face as she renewed her “yes” to Christ. I could see and feel the elation and jubilation in the Sisters and it spoke to me in volumes.

In the evening, the Sisters hosted the monthly Ramsho and Supper gathering at the Mother of the Light Convent. I met some of lovely parishioners from Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Parish in Boston and from the local Catholic Church, St Julie Billiart. These parishioners joined us for our Maronite evening prayer (ramsho) and a great supper with lots of fellowship and sharing.
Mother Marla Marie has helped me in every way possible to discern my vocation. She has supported and encouraged me throughout my discernment with regular spiritual direction and has been very accommodating throughout both my visits to the US. Indeed, Mother Marla Marie's unstinting support, guidance and encouragement helped me a great deal in making the commitment and saying "yes" to Jesus. 

Well, four weeks went quickly, but I am grateful to Mother Marla Marie and Sr. Therese Maria for their great hospitality. I was at home, I felt at home, and I can’t wait to come back home in the New Year and embark on the greatest adventure of my life with Our Lord and Our Lady by my side. I ask you to remember me in prayer.


Read Our Winter News

Click here --for the winter Newsletter.  Read about our trip to Lebanon, our mission efforts, and lots of photos.

Nativity play and party- New Bedford

On Saturday December 14 the children in the Maronite Faith Formation program of Our Lady of Purgatory Church presented a Nativity play for their parents. The parents were also part of the cast in the Christmas play by singing the selected carols with the children. Afterwards, the parents and children enjoyed a Christmas party with snacks and treats in the parish hall. An encore performance will be at the Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy 5:00PM at Our Lady of Purgatory in New Bedford.


Weekend Events - Dartmouth

Renewal of Vows
Sister Therese Maria renewed her vows on Sunday December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at the Liturgy in Our Lady of Purgatory Church, New Bedford.

Ramsho & Supper

We hosted 20 people for our monthly Ramsho and Supper evening at the Mother of the Light Convent on December 8. Parishioners came from Our Lady of the Cedars in Boston and from St. Julie's  Catholic Church in Dartmouth. Our next Ramsho and Supper evening will be Sunday January 12 at 5pm. Please R.S.V.P. by January 10 if you would like to attend.

Caroling at Cedars Assisted Living
Our MYO from Our Lady of Purgatory went to Cedars on Saturday, December 7th and sang Christmas songs to the residents adding holiday cheer. 


Bible Sharing - Easton MA

By Natalie Salameh

On Friday, 29 November 2013, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light facilitated an evening of spiritual reflection and bible sharing for our Maronite couples at the home of parishioners, Elie and Micha Aboukheir in Easton.
At the start of the evening's spiritual reflection, Mother Marla Marie began by reminding the us that  Sacred Scriptures is our prayer book and source for spiritual growth.  Mother Marla Marie so rightly stated , "it is Christ Himself who speaks to us when we break open the Word of God."    

With that in mind, Mother Marla Marie led the couples in a Lectio Divina (divine reading) on a Sunday Gospel reading, the Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin, St. Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56).
She helped the couples engage in the four key components of Lectio Divina with the Sunday's Gospel reading as the focal point of reflection, that is, read, reflect, pray and act.

Some of the couples were gracious enough to share some of the beautiful thoughts that the Holy Spirit had inspired within them. Mother Marla Marie was able to guide and help the couples in transforming those holy thoughts into tangible resolutions in order to nourish and strengthen their relationship with God and their neighbor.  
All in all, the couples were able to gain a deeper experience of how to pray with the Sacred Scriptures.

A special thanks to Elie and Micha for opening their home and hearts for the evening. Their warm welcome and great hospitality helped make the evening the success that it was. For those parishioners interested in hosting a similar event in their homes, please contact the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light on 508-996-1753.     


Several MYO Groups Visit the Sisters

By Natalie Salemeh
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light began the Season of the Glorious Birth of Our Lord by hosting a Maronite Youth Organization (MYO) gathering at the Mother of Light Convent in Dartmouth on Sunday November 17.  The Sisters welcomed the teens of the MYO groups from the parishes of Boston, Brockton and New Bedford including a number of parents and coordinators (whose assistance throughout the afternoon helped make the event a success).

Sister Therese Maria led fun games engaging the teens to think about the beauty of giving, particularly in this liturgical season.  Mother Marla Marie helped the teens focus on how they can best prepare for the Glorious Birth. Oftentimes, the Christmas season is encumbered by materialism and commercialism that people lose sight of the fact that they should be getting ready to welcome the Savior and Light of the world into their hearts and lives.

The afternoon continued with a beautiful meditation of the Gospel scene of the Annunciation. The teens were encouraged to reflect on how they could best echo Mary’s “yes” in their everyday lives and follow the promptings of God with trust and confidence. Everyone participated in Eucharistic Adoration, for it is only allowing Jesus to fill us, that we are then able to give him to others. What greater gift can we give to others than the Son of God present within us?


What Do You Want Me to Do - Lord?

Some words of encouragement from Pope Francis:

"God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage. Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of “enjoying” the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, “for ever”, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage “to swim against the tide.”  And also have the courage to be happy.

The Lord calls some to be priests, to give themselves to him more fully, so as to love all people with the heart of the Good Shepherd. Some he calls to the service of others in the religious life: devoting themselves in monasteries to praying for the good of the world, and in various areas of the apostolate, giving of themselves for the sake of all, especially those most in need. I will never forget that day, 21 September – I was 17 years old – when, after stopping in the Church of San José de Flores to go to confession, I first heard God calling me. Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying “yes” to God. In him we find joy!

Dear young people, some of you may not yet know what you will do with your lives. Ask the Lord, and he will show you the way. The young Samuel kept hearing the voice of the Lord who was calling him, but he did not understand or know what to say, yet with the help of the priest Eli, in the end he answered: Speak, Lord, for I am listening (cf. 1 Sam 3:1-10). You too can ask the Lord: What do you want me to do? What path am I to follow?"

Marriage Isn’t For You

A blogger named Seth Adam Smith wrote the following article on marriage that is spot on !
"Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.
I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all." ...  click here


Atlanta GA - Tallahasee FL

MYA Workshop Atlanta
 Mother Marla Marie speaking on vocations to grade eight.

We participated in the National Workshop for Maronite Young Adults  November 1st - 3rd where 170 attended from across the country in Atlanta, G.A. During the weekend, we facilitated a pro-life discussion group and assisted with the Adoration and Reconciliation service. The workshop concluded with Divine Liturgy at St. Joseph’s, the host parish, followed by a farewell brunch.
We also visited the Religious Education classes at St. Joseph’s.

Life Teen - Tallahassee, Florida
We offered a presentation on the Saints to the Life Teen group at Good Shepherd parish in Tallahasee, FL on November 3rd. The teens were awesome.  The parish Youth Minister, Kelly Colangelo is a dear friend of Mother Marla Marie.  Below is an email received by Kelly from a parent:

"I just wanted to share that (my daughter) voluntarily mentioned last night how good the nuns talk was. (For her to mention anything without being asked means she was impressed.) She was blessed to be in their group for the skit and said they were so nice. I loved that she was able to have one on one with nuns. What a very cool experience to give the kids. I grew up with nuns in Catholic school but I forget my kids really don't ever have contact with religious except our priests and deacons. Please express our thanks to them for making the trip. They were hip, funny and authentic. Their love for the kids was clearly articulated. And thank you for thinking outside the box and sharing your gifts with our kids."