Great Lent

Excerpts taken from the book, “Captivated by Your Teachings”, by Rev. Anthony Salim.

In the Maronite Church, the Entrance into Lent begins with “Cana Sunday”. The Wedding at Cana has, as its central theme, transformation. On the one hand we see this pattern: in the Gospel, water becomes wine; in the Liturgy, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. On the other hand his physical body, changed in the Resurrection, the greatest miracle, a new creation, is symbolized by the water-made-wine. This focus on change should lead us to make the necessary changes in our own spiritual lives. We move from an earthly wedding story to considering our life at the eternal Wedding Banquet.

Great Lent is above all the time of the Great Fast. Fasting, acts of penance and self-denial, as well as intense self-reflection, mark this season. One remedy for sin that the ancient Christians saw as helpful was fasting. Maronite Tradition has always encouraged heroic fasting, and our ancestors excelled at it. Maronites are obligated to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Monday (February 12, 2018) and Great Friday of the Crucifixion (March 30, 2018), and also to abstain from meat on all Fridays throughout Great Lent.
On the Fridays of Lent, the traditional Veneration of the Holy Cross is prayed, and at some parishes, Stations of the Cross are also prayed.

Great Lent is above all a time of purification and reflection before the wondrous celebration of the Glorious Resurrection, a time designed to lead us to personal and communal conversion. In view of our common sinfulness and need of purification, this season is as relevant now as ever.   


Weekend Events of the Sisters

Day of Recollection at St. Julie Billiart Parish

On Saturday, February 3rd, the Maronite Servants attended a Day of Recollection for Consecrated Religious hosted by the Diocese of Fall River, held at St. Julie’s Catholic Church in Dartmouth.

It was a beautiful day of prayer, reflection, conferences, and group sharing. It was a great joy to meet and greet the other consecrated men and women in the Diocese of Fall River.  Mass was celebrated by His Excellency, Bishop Edgar de Cunha of the Diocese of Fall River, himself a consecrated religious. The Bishop gave a beautiful homily on the importance of keeping our love for Christ burning brightly in our hearts, and how this is the key to effectively transforming and touching the lives of others.

Catechesis on St. Maron and Great Lent

On Sunday, February 4th, following Divine Liturgy, the Maronite Servants offered a lesson of Catechesis to the children of the parish on the Feast of St. Maron on February 9th and Great Lent.

Sr. Natalie Sayde spoke to the children about the extraordinary life of St. Maron and how and why he is important to us as Maronites. Sister reminded the children that for Maronites, the Feast of St. Maron on February 9, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and that we should attend Mass, if we can.
Mother Marla Marie spoke to the children about the importance of the upcoming season of Great Lent, and how Lent is a time for us to exercise our muscles of love, loving God and our neighbor, in a more intentional way. With the help of the sisters and other catechists, each child was able to come up with their own plan for Lent.   


Vocation Panel – Mount Carmel, New Bedford

 On Sunday evening, January 28, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light participated in a vocation panel tailored to the two confirmation classes of the Roman Catholic parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New Bedford, MA.

On the panel were Fr. Tom Washburn, a Franciscan Friar that serves in Buzzards Bay, Sr. Therese Maria and Sr. Natalie Sayde, and Deacon Maurice Ouellette, who serves the parish of St. Lawrence in New Bedford. Each of the panel members spoke on their personal vocation stories and how God touched their hearts to pursue their vocation. All throughout the stories we could see how God still speaks to many people, and how He alone desires our true fulfillment and happiness.

The teens enjoyed asking questions to different panel members, for instance, we were asked, “what do we do all day?”, “why do we wear a habit?”, “what kind of music do we listen to?” The sisters enjoyed spending the evening with the teens and getting to know them.