Assumption Pilgrimage – Ohio

By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh

We enjoyed several days of prayer and visiting with friends at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, Ohio in celebration of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The pilgrimage began on Sunday, August 13, with a Divine Liturgy of the Roman Rite celebrated by His Excellency, Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, followed by a candlelit procession and blessing with the Icon of Our Lady of Lebanon.

On Sunday afternoon, before Divine Liturgy, Mother Marla Marie gave a presentation to the pilgrims on the message of Our Lady of Fatima, in honor of the Centennial celebrations.

As usual, we had a table in the Cedars Hall where we were able to speak with many people one on one. This year the layout of our table was a little different. Once again, as at NAM this year, devoted parishioner, Cecilia Romero of St. Joseph’s parish, Atlanta, had crocheted an assortment of baby items which she generously donated to the sisters as sale items on our table. We also promoted the pro-life message with magnets and precious feet pins that we gave away. 
On both Sunday and Monday nights, we spent time in prayer, adoration and fellowship with the MYO of the parishes of Youngstown and Cleveland with their Excellencies, Bishop Elias Zaidan and Bishop Gregory Mansour also in attendance. Both Bishops spoke to the teens on the virtues of Our Blessed Mother and the various apparitions of Our Lady in Guadalupe and Brazil, respectively.
On Monday evening, August 14, we were blessed to celebrate a Byzantine Divine Liturgy, offered by His Excellency, Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Bishop of the Byzantine Eparchy of St. Josaphat Parma, Ohio. Following Divine Liturgy, the Byzantine Tradition has a very beautiful ritual of burying the Mother of God on the vigil of her Dormition, a ritual they call the “Funeral of the Theotokos, the Ever-Virgin Mary”. We processed behind the tomb and shroud of the Virgin Mary, which was later placed in the chapel for all to venerate.
On the day of the Feast of the Assumption, Tuesday August 15, we celebrated the Maronite Pontifical Liturgy outside beside the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. The Liturgy was followed by a huge candlelit procession around the entire shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, with a great number in attendance. The procession concluded with a beautiful display of fireworks above the shrine, and festivities in the Cedars Hall.

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


Maronite Bible Camp 2017 – Fall River, MA

The LOL Club (Light of Life) began on August 7th with three days of learning about Mary’s tender love and watchful care in engaging video, crafts, bible sharing, games, prayer, choir practice, dabke rehearsal, and snacks. Our theme this year was “In the Footsteps of Mary”, and focused on the specific ways that Our Blessed Mother exemplifies the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Day one centered on the apparitions of Fatima and the virtue of faith. Day two was on the apparitions of Lourdes and how Our Lady gives us hope in the healing power of God. Day three focused on Our Lady of Guadalupe and how our Mother Mary is lovingly watching over us with her tender care. 

LOL Club Maronite summer camp concluded August 9th with Divine Liturgy celebrated at St. Anthony of the Desert Maronite Church by Fr. Alex Joseph, attended by LOL members, volunteers, and parents. A very big thank you to Fr. Alex who made the trip from Worcester, MA to be with us and offer Divine Liturgy.

After the closing Liturgy, all those in attendance enjoyed a performance by their children in the Church Hall, which included skits, sing-a-longs and the dabke, along with lunch. After lunch, all children, volunteers and parents enjoyed an afternoon of arcade games, bumper cars and boats at Grand Prix in Seekonk. The children enjoyed our time together, and it was great to hear that affirmed by the parents who mentioned to us that their kids were “having so much fun” and making so many new friends.


Fatima Presentation – Acushnet, MA

By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh
On Friday, July 21, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light facilitated a morning of prayer, reflection and catechesis for the children enrolled in the three week “Summer Fun” program at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Acushnet, MA.
The theme of our morning’s catechesis was Our Lady of Fatima’s message of prayer and sacrifice for peace in the world.
It was a delight to learn that many of the children already knew about the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917. After showing them a video on the apparitions, the sisters asked the children whether they could think of some things that they often don’t feel like doing, which they could offer as a sacrifice to God for those who don’t know or love Him. One child cleverly said “anything that our parents tell us do”.

The children made a pennant flag to Mary as their craft activity, which they waved enthusiastically during our procession towards the outdoor shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, while singing “Ave Maria”. We offered a decade of 
the rosary  for peace in the world.  



World Maronite Youth Days - Lebanon

Sister Therese Maria and 40 of our USA young adult Maronites are in Lebanon for for World Maronite Youth days (WMYD) with the Patriarch. They will share and celebrate the unique beauty of our Maronite faith and roots. The theme for WMYD is: "Be Strong and Courageous."
Sister Therese presented to the English speaking participants sharing on the Maronite Liturgy.

During the WMYD, July 15 - 25, 2017, the dynamic activities planned in the program include daily catechesis, interactive discussions, sport and art activities, exhibitions, opportunity for adoration, quiet prayer and confession, social gatherings, and optional touring of various religious and historical sites throughout Lebanon.


National MYO Workshop, Minneapolis MN

Sister Therese Maria (who serves as the Eparchial Coordinator for MYO) attended and assisted at the National MYO Workshop in Minneapolis, MN from July 3-8. The theme for this year's retreat was "Homecoming" and the dynamic speakers, talks and activities centered on body image, relationships, the Sacred Mysteries and coming home to God's loving and merciful heart. 
Sr. Therese Maria led morning prayer, facilitated a discussion on cultivating spirituality with the chaperones and gave an interactive presentation to the teens on our identity (as children of God), mission (to love and be loved) and destiny (Heaven). Sister also had great fun teaching the teens how to make knotted twine rosaries. Here are some photos of the teens coming from across the country to attend the 2017 National Workshop.