What it Means to be Maronite: Spiritual Roots

By His Excellency, Bishop Gregory J. Mansour
When I meet someone from the Middle East for the first time they usually ask me where I am from. I say I was born in the United States and so were my parents, but my four grandparents were from Ehden, Lebanon, Damour, Lebanon, Damascus, Syria and Tibneen, Lebanon. The families from Ehden and Damour migrated to Nazareth, in what is now Israel, over the course of three hundred years. My ancestral roots are Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese and American!
Our ancestry is important, but our identity and our spiritual roots are much deeper than the location of our ancestors, the language we speak and our ethnic background. We can be Maronite Catholic because of ancestry, the choice of our parents, or because we made the choice ourselves as adults. But no matter how we became Maronite, by virtue of our involvement with this beautiful Church, we are responsible for Her care and well being. There are seven traits of Maronites that can help to define who we are and who we ought to be.
First, Saint Maron, the spiritual father of the Maronite Church, went beyond all measure in his love for Christ. He was an “open-air” hermit, subjecting himself to the sufferings caused by the weather. He made himself available to God and to others while spending his days and nights in fasts and vigils. While he sought only solitude, others sought him for spiritual help. As a priest he was intimately connected to the life of the Church, his life was fulfilled by his service to others and he gave the totality of his being in this noble service.

Second, Maronites from the very beginning were bridge builders. Abraham,
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Our Sydney Mission Continues...

His Excellency, Bishop Robert Rabbat of the Melkite Diocese of Australia and a friend from his days at Annunciation Cathedral in Boston.

We presented a lesson on Saint Maroun to the children of St. Joseph's parish during their visit to St. Maroun's Cathedral in Redfern.

Solemn Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Saint Maroun with His Excellency, Bishop Ad Abikaram at Saint Maroun's Cathedral.
We presented a vocation talk to the youth of Our Lady of Lourdes, Earlwood.

Voice of Charity Radio, Australia interviewed us for a program on our mission and vocation.  Tune in online.

Visiting with some of our lovely Maronite families in Sydney to spread the word about vocations.
A friendraiser luncheon sponsored by a dear friend drew 40 women from the Sydney Maronite parishes to raise awareness of our Congregation and to ask for support and vocation promotion.

A Letter from Our Bishop on Pope Benedict

A Letter from His Excellency, Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 
I awoke this morning, as all of you did, to the surprise news of the Holy Father’s renunciation of the Petrine Ministry in the Church, to which he was elected by the College of Cardinals eight years ago. I cannot think of the Church without him at the helm. Nor could I have thought eight years ago of the Church without Blessed John Paul II. We live in Christian hope.
Pope Benedict spoke of the Church as a ship, and the one who serves at the helm, the Pope, serves in Peter, the fisherman’s, place. He needs strength of soul and body to do so. Moreover, the Pope said, even though there is suffering and prayer associated with the Petrine ministry, in the modern day a Pope needs much strength to carry the Church’s mission well. Pope Benedict examined his conscience many times, and he said he came to a certainty that this is his time to “let go”. This is bold, loving and wise.
Notice that the Pope does not “resign”. Patriarchs and Bishops resign, because they send in their resignation to the Pope. But the Pope “lets go”, he used the word “renounce”, which is the word we also embrace during Lent, to renounce whatever does not lead us or those we serve to be closer to God. What an act of humility and love for the Church!
The Holy Father asked all of us once again to entrust the Church to the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and he asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for the Church’s Cardinal electors, so that by the Holy Spirit they may elect a worthy successor. The Holy Father asked God and us to forgive his shortcomings, and pledged to live the rest of his life in devoted service to the church through prayer.
Wow, what a witness to faith in God, and in his Church! The Holy Father’s talk to the Cardinals, a beautiful talk given in Latin, so we know that this was quite freely and soberly thought and prayed out, can be read here:
I hope everyone will read it.
May God bless Pope Benedict the man, the Christian, the Bishop, the Pope, and the faithful “Servant of the Servants of God”, and bless the Church, the ship of Peter, as she continues to live and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.
+ Gregory


Maronite Servants in Sydney Australia

Our first week in the Eparchy of Saint Maroun in Sydney has taken us to:

talk on the Year of Faith, St. Charbel's in Punchbowl

a talk to the Marian Apostolic Movement, at St. Joseph's in Croydon

a vocation presentation to young adults at the Qurbono, St. Joseph's in Croydon

a blessed visit with His Excellency, Bishop Ad Abikaram, Beit Maroun in Strartfield

and a talk on Saint Maron and vocations to Maronite youth at a family barbie at Condel Park



By Father Anthony J. Salim, pastor of St. Joseph parish, Olean NY

Season of the Glorious Epiphany
Sunday of the Righteous and Just

            The Maronite Liturgical Calendar closes the Season of Epiphany with three Sundays that remember the Faithful Departed, whose lives were lived out their baptismal and chrismational commitments in an exemplary way serving the Lord. These Sundays are:

--Sunday of Deceased Faithful Priests who served the altars of the Church
--Sunday of the “Righteous and Just,” as the Tradition calls them; in other words, Saints
--Sunday of the Faithful Departed

As we reflect on the power of the sacramental Mysteries of Initiation—Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist—we try to see how those before us have lived out their baptismal promises, and what impact these lives have made on Church and society. 

In this second Sunday commemoration, we recall how people faithful to the Lord during their lives are to be imitated for their holiness. Some of these are so holy that through their intercession miracles happen. They helped people on earth, and some continue to help people after their deaths, by interceding with Jesus to God the Father for us. Their lives were righteous and they are deemed just.

There are, of course, people whom the Church has always recognized of their sanctity; for example, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. However, since the late Middle Ages, the Church has devised a process for discerning the holiness of certain people, whose names and lives are proposed for listing in the liturgical calendars of the Churches East and West that make up the Universal Church. Since such a list is called a “canon,” this process is called “canonization.”

We rightly pray:

Hail, Mary, full of grace!
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the Fruit of your womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.