Say “Yes” to Mary Day of Prayer – Celebrating Fatima’s 100th Anniversary

By Sister Natalie Sayde
On Saturday, May 6, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light participated in a morning of recollection on the key theme and message of Our Lady of Fatima. This year is the Centennial anniversary of the apparitions, and the morning was presented and facilitated by the “Living The Fatima Message” Group at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River. 
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light were asked to be exhibitors at this event, where we were able to meet many people and show case our charism. The morning was absolutely beautiful, and included adoration and confession; the recitation of a living Rosary in a number of different languages; a Rosary-making workshop; a play put on by Mrs. Elizabeth Montigny on the life of the Blessed Mother as depicted in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
The keynote speaker was Fr. Thaddeus Lancton, MIC,  (Divine Mercy Shrine, Stockbridge, MA) who spoke on the fundamental message of Our Lady of Fatima as being a call to penance and conversion. Mary echoes her Son, who began His preaching ministry with the call to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2).
Fr. Thaddeus described how in one of the apparitions, Mary showed the three children a vision of Hell, and how the children were absolutely horrified by the sight. Mary said, Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.” (Our Lady, August 19, 1917). Following this vision, the children began not only accepting the daily penances that came to them in the form of ridicule and persecution, often by their own families as a result of these apparitions, but also taking on additional sacrifices. After what they had seen in Hell, they said that all they had to endure here on earth seemed light in comparison to the suffering and torment of that dark place.
This is fundamentally Our Lady’s Call, to say “Yes” to God in our everyday lives in what He chooses to send us, rather than rebel against His will. Fr. Thaddeus gave some very tangible examples of what penances Mary had in mind. For example, if we’re stuck in a traffic jam, to accept it and offer it as a sacrifice to God, rather than curse and rage. If our spouse is doing something to annoy us, to respond with patience and love, rather than with our usual anger and sharp retorts. These are the sacrifices that Mary wants from all of us, and through them all her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

“Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it.” (June 13, 1917)


You became the Mediator

SEDRO (from the Thursday Safro prayers)
O Christ,
we give you thanks, for by your resurrection you became the Mediator between God and man.
We were enemies, weighed down by a debt which has no equivalent
and which we had no hope of repaying.
Our sins weighed us down,
and we had neither the strength nor the means to erase them.
But your mercy came to us,
your love cleared a path for us.
You stretched out your hand toward us
and became man to bear all our sins,
cancel our entire debt,
redeem us at the precious price of your blood,
save us through the marvelous instrument which is your cross, and to grant us, through your resurrection, the hope
of our own rising and the promise of every blessing.
Without you there would be no mediator;
the light of hope would not have shone in our night
and it would not have arisen from our despair.
We would still be deep in sin and the most miserable of men!
But thanks be to God who, through you,
saved us from death.
Praise be to your love which atoned for our sins;
to you be glory and praise,
now and for ever. Amen.


Divine Mercy Mission – Philadelphia, PA

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)


Simon, Son of John, do you love Me?

The following Homily was given by Fr. Herbert Nicholls on April 20th at the Mother of the Light Convent

True faith is rooted in humility which enables us to let go of ourselves, to let go of our own will, and to let the power of Jesus work in us.

As we look at this Gospel, Jesus very delicately and lovingly engages with Peter in a pivotal moment that will enable Peter to see for himself his great love for Jesus and the power of that love which is greater than any opposing power that might try to keep him bound in the memory of his toxic shame and human failures.

The use of the word “shame” is of significance. It is very different from “guilt” although we too often use the terms interchangeably. “Guilt” might be called the voice of conscience. It is the voice of God inviting us back to healthy relationship with Him. “Shame”, on the other hand, is never healthy, nor from God. It is a feeling of disruption, division, from God which makes us feel alienated. Shame can persist even after guilt is healed.

Peter and the others had already received the Holy Spirit, the gift of Forgiveness, peace, serenity, and had been told to share these gifts with others. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven (Jn 20:23). The name of Jesus (Yeshua) has an authority and a power that goes beyond simple memory. It is active and forceful and cuts to the very heart.

They had been pardoned, but something was still eating inside of Peter. His eyes were riveted on the charcoal fire, perhaps reminiscent of the charcoal fire in the courtyard of Caiphas on Great Friday. Perhaps due to this intense physical focus, Peter was unable to recognize the “man” on the shore; at least not until John, who now seemingly is in peace and serenity is able to recognize and to share with Peter the identity of this “man”.

Peter, who was stripped naked, probably customary for fishermen out on the waters, “cloths himself”. The Greek text here makes a clear distinction which is lost in English translation. The clothes with which Peter covers himself is not his, his own, but his, that of another person, of Jesus’ cloak of righteousness.

Now Peter makes a deliberate decision to jump in the water and swim to the Lord. I firmly believe this is no coincidence. I believe that the Evangelist in his final chapter is drawing a deliberate contrast with the opening pages of Genesis, where the first humans were deceived to fear and hide from God in shame. They no longer felt worthy to be what God had created them to be: the image of God, the children of God.

As Jesus stepped forth from the stone-blocked tomb liberated from death; Peter was now released to come forth from his stone-crusted shame, liberated from the power of evil. Jesus’ desire for Peter and for all of us is to recognize while we are human and make mistakes, the power of love is able to overcome a multitude of sins, of evil choices.

This is the most encouraging intervention that anyone can experience.

As Jesus takes Peter deeper and deeper into the healing of shame, asking him three times, healing that three-time denial at the first charcoal fire; Peter is brought to understand that in spite of his imperfections, he could still serve Jesus faithfully and fully.

Jesus seeks to have this same exchange with us. To burn away the dross of doubt and to enkindle in our hearts the fire of love. We will continue to make mistakes. Only God is perfect. But as we publically declare our love for Jesus, and our love for the power of His Name (Yeshua); that love will become visible proof of His ability to make His kingdom of serenity and peace a reality on earth.