By Sr. Natalie Sayde
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light were on mission at St. Maron’s Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 21-23rd. At the invitation of Reverend Vincent Farhat, pastor, the Sisters offered a parish-wide retreat, “Living Divine Mercy”. The theme was especially fitting as it was Divine Mercy Sunday for the Universal Catholic Church on April 23rd.
On Friday evening, Mother Marla Marie gave a presentation to the adults of the parish on God’s mercy in our lives, and the message of Divine Mercy, as received by St. Faustina, and its relevance today. What is God trying to tell us through His message of Divine Mercy? He was very clear with St. Faustina, and the answer appears on the bottom of the famous Divine Mercy image, He is asking us to TRUST. Jesus, I trust in You. Mother Marla Marie guided the adults through a time of prayer before the Holy Mysteries, and encouraged them to take up the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a devotion in their everyday lives.
We facilitated a children’s retreat on Saturday morning, which included games, crafts, activities, prizes and lunch. We also guided the children in a time of prayer in the Church and taught them how to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
On Saturday afternoon, we had lots of fun and laughter with the MYO of the parish in Bumper Bowling.
On Saturday evening, we met with over 25 of the MYA for a relaxed evening of fellowship which included dinner. This was a very special evening as a number of the MYA had attended from other regional parishes including Our Lady of Lebanon in Brooklyn and St. Sharbel’s from Somerset, New Jersey. It was awesome to see them all trying to get to know each other and bond on a deeper level. The message of Divine Mercy was also a central theme, which generated much discussion and thought-provoking questions.
During the course of the weekend Divine Liturgies, Mother Marla Marie spoke on vocations and the message of Divine Mercy. We met with the parishioners at the coffee hour on Sunday.
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend with the beautiful parish family of St. Maron’s. We thank Abouna Vince and the parishioners for their warm hospitality, support and goodness in welcoming us and responding so positively to our mission. We look forward to being with them again in the near future.
“‘I am love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.’” (from the Diary of St. Faustina, para: 1273, page 459)