Vocation Prayers

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light have written prayers of petition for vocations according each Sunday of the Maronite Liturgical year. These brief, one-sentence prayers are designed to be included the weekly church bulletin as a reminder to the faithful to pray for vocations. The prayers are available on the vocations website: VineyardoftheLord.com at the “Get Involved” link, under the category of “vocations”. Please encourage your bulletin editor to make use of these weekly prayers by including a vocations corner in each bulletin.

Here is a sample of an up-coming prayer for the Third Sunday After Epiphany: “’Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’ Gracious Father, grant that the families of our parish may grow in your spirit of holiness. We especially pray that parents may encourage their children to seek first the Kingdom of God in choosing their life’s vocation.”

For more information on the mission and life of the Maronite Servants, visit our website at MaroniteServants.org and our blog at RadiateHisLight.blogspot.com.


Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord

(Taken from the Synaxarion of the Feast.)
"The entire Maronite Liturgical year is centered on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Season of Announcement recalls for us the great events in the history of our salvation leading up to the Birth of our Lord.
The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord celebrated in our Maronite Church on January 1st, commemorates an event in the life of Jesus which took place eight days after his birth: his naming and circumcision.
According to Hebrew Law, every male child was to be circumcised on the eight day after his birth (Genesis 17:11-12). Circumcision was the sign God gave to Abraham of his covenant with his chosen people. Through circumcision the Hebrew child received the physical sign of his membership in the chosen people of God. At the time of circumcision the child was also given the name by which he was to be known among God’s people.
It is thus that Jesus is circumcised and given his name which means, 'Yahweh is Savior.'
Jesus, as God’s true Son had no need of circumcision and yet, in order to show that he was the fulfillment of the law, he submitted to its prescriptions. Jesus was already a member of God’s chosen people; for, in fact, he was God’s chosen One, the Son of the Most High. And yet, Jesus not only observed the prescription of the law, he also surpassed them since after his death and resurrection, the New Covenant would be established and the Old Covenant would be abolished.
The infant church questioned whether circumcision was necessary for those who wished to become Christians. Saint Paul who brought the gentiles into the Church asserted that circumcision is no longer required in the light of the death and resurrection of Jesus. One becomes a member of the new Israel, not by circumcision of the flesh, but by faith and baptism in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:11f)."


Glorious Nativity! Milaad Majeed! Joyeux Noel! Merry Christmas!
You are remembered in prayer and especially thought of during this Christmas Season of the Glorious Birth.
“Today the Lord Jesus is born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he has freed all people from their captors. Let us raise a hymn of glory.” (Christmas Divine Liturgy, Proemion)


Winter Newsletter

Read the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light Newsletter, Winter Issue

St. Maron - Philadelphia, PA

By Sister Therese Maria

Last weekend, December 10-12th, the Maronite Servants took a road trip to Philadelphia to visit Saint Maron’s Maronite Church. Father Michael Marone, parish administrator gave us a South Philly welcome and provided us with great hospitality. We were right at home in this community.

As part of the mission trip, Mother Marla Marie spoke the Divine Liturgies and shared of her unique vocation journey and the founding of the Maronite Servants’ mission, and the importance of praying for and supporting vocations. She also made an appeal to the people for financial help sustaining our vital mission. After the Sunday Liturgy, the parish hosted a reception in the center where we enjoyed visiting with the parish family.
Father Michael was good to take us on visits to some of the historic sites of Philadelphia including the National Shrine of St. John Neumann, the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, and one of the important landmarks of America’s history, Independence State Park.


Visiting the Westchester Maronite Mission

On Sunday December 5th, we joined with the Westchester Maronite Mission in White Plains, New York and enjoyed visits with the religious education children, the MYO, and Divine Liturgy celebrated by Abouna Jean Younes, pastor.  We are grateful for the hospitality and generous welcome of our Maronite Servants' message and mission.  This growing mission Community is able to use the facilities of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion. Here are a few scenes from the day...


Pro- Life Efforts After the Elections - - What Can We Do Now?

By Deacon Nicholas Mammi
Office of Family & Sanctity of Life for the Eparchy of Saint Maron

Many faithful Catholics wonder what they can do politically once they have voted. Above all, we must continue to press our elected leaders to uphold pro-life principles. Write your sena-tors and  congressman and encourage them to support the following bills; each represents a “cornerstone” of Catholic pro-life ethic.

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (HR5939) will establish a consistent government-wide prohibition on abortion funding. The bill is likely to receive priority consideration in the new 112th Congress. Not only will this bill repeal the pro-abortion portions of the will establish a government-wide prohibition on abortion funding. The bill is likely to be a priority in the new 112th Congress. Not only will the bill repeal the pro-abortion portions of the health care bill, but it will make the Hyde amendment, the Hyde-Weldon conscience protection clause, and other pro-life amendments permanent federal law. Sponsors: Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL).

Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (HR614) would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Service from providing federal family planning assistance to an entity unless it certifies that it will not perform abortion (or fund another entity that does) while it is receiving aid. Excludes abortion in cases of rape or incest against a minor, or when a physician certifies the woman suffers from a physical condition that would place her mortal danger without an abortion. Sponsor: Mike Pence (R-IN).

Protect Life Act (HR 5111) would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill. The Senate version of this bill (S 3723) includes the same prohibitions.

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 5276) would ensure women seeking an abortion are made aware that a child may be able to feel pain at 20 weeks gestation. Also allows a woman to choose anesthesia for the baby if she chooses to abort.

Join in the 2011 March for Life - DC

The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn Office of Family and Sanctity of Life invites all youth and young adults throughout the Eparchy to come to Washington, D.C. to join in the 2011 March for Life! Our Lady of Lebanon parish will host a limited number of young men and women overnight in its social hall from Sunday through Monday, January 23-24.

Partake in prayer, sacraments, prolife talks, interaction with prolife young people, advocacy, and dialogue with members of Congress. MYA and MYO members are encouraged to attend. Adults 39+ are welcome as chaperones.

To register, contact Deacon Nicholas Mammi (nmammi@swva.net or 540-420-4725) or Joseph Elhallal (jhallal@verizon.net or 540-815-2104). RSVP by December 13th.


Maronite Servants Receive First Novice

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light announce the reception to the Novitiate of Therese Touma. This next step in the formation of religious life took place at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn on November 21st, 2010 during the 11:00 AM Divine Liturgy with Bishop Gregory J. Mansour presiding, and concelebrating, Father James Root, rector.

It was the Sunday of the Announcement to Mary and the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, both fitting themes for the sacrifice and dedication of religious life.  Also adding blessing to the day was the unexpected visit of six Sisters of Life who stopped in for the Divine Liturgy, as well as, a Sister of St. Joseph and a Franciscan Sister.

After the homily, Bishop Gregory blessed Therese as she was led to the sanctuary by Mother Marla Marie, who then presented Therese saying, “She has completed a period of Postulancy, and has asked to be received into the Novitiate of the Congregation of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light, in the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn. As her Superior, I have granted her request and welcome her as a Novice with the Religious name of Sister Therese Maria. We ask your blessing upon her habit and rosary, the rich symbols of Religious life, and also upon the Typicon of the Congregation, which Sister Therese Maria will study in preparation to embrace the evangelical counsels of our Congregation.”
After Bishop Gregory’s blessing upon the articles of the habit, Mother Marla Marie presented them to Sister Therese Maria, and clothed her with the white veil of the novitiate. Sister Therese Maria is the first member to join with the foundress, Mother Marla Marie, in this new congregation of Maronite religious in the Eparchy of Saint Maron. Sister Therese Maria began a postulancy period last February to help her make the transition into monastery life. Following the postulancy is the novitiate, at which time the Maronite Servant is given the title of “Sister” and receives the habit. Then begins a two-year formation, which is a foundational period for the deepening of the spiritual life in preparation for vows.

Reflecting on the ceremony, Sister Therese Maria said, “One of the highlights was when Mother Marla Marie handed me the white veil which I then kissed, symbolizing the vow of chastity.” She also added, “I see the Novitiate, as a precious time of deepening my love and commitment to Jesus. These two years of formation will be a beautiful opportunity to humbly grow in my understanding of what it means to be a Maronite Servant of Christ the Light.”

Sr. Therese Maria, 26, is from Sydney, Australia and is the daughter of Joseph and Jacqueline Touma. She was raised in the Maronite Church and cherishes her early memories of family members’ teaching her the faith. She also has a strong devotion to the Maronite saints, and says St. Rafka in particular has been “a great role model” as she strives to live out her faith.

More information on the Maronite Servants can be found on the website: maroniteservants.org.


Reception into the Novitiate this Sunday

Please keep Therese Touma in prayer as she prepares to be received into the Maronite Servants Novitiate on Sunday November 21 at the 11:00 AM Divine Liturgy in Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn. 

Growing Vocations

 Therese Touma, a postulant in the Maronite Servants and MYO members
at the October retreat in Litchfield, CT. 
By The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light

The late Pope John Paul II used the image of a garden to help parents understand their responsibility in nurturing religious vocations, "the task of Christian parents is as important as it is sensitive, because they are called to prepare, cultivate and protect the vocations which God stirs up in their family.” The Pope explains that God generously sows the seeds of vocation and the family is the “garden” where a vocation to priesthood and religious life blossom and grow.

How can you, as a parent, tend the seed of vocation? Pope John Paul II gives guidance, “They must, therefore, enrich themselves and their family with spiritual and moral values,

· such as a deep and convinced religious spirit,

· an apostolic and ecclesial consciousness,

· and a clear idea of what a vocation is."

Parents are to be living models of mature self-giving love, flowing from generous hearts bound in the Sacrament of Matrimony. "Christian parents, demonstrating a loving care for their children from their earliest years, communicate to them, by word and example, a sincere and lived-out relationship with God, made up of love, fidelity, prayer and obedience. In this way, parents encourage the holiness of their children and render their hearts docile to the voice of the Good Shepherd, who calls every man to follow him and to seek first the kingdom of God.” (Pope John Paul II, XXXI World Day of Prayer for Vocations)

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light pray each day for an increase of vocations in our Maronite Church in holy priests, generous nuns and monks, and faithful marriages. Young women are invited to consider giving their life in service to the Maronite Church as the spiritual mothers of the parish family. Contact MaroniteServants.org for more information on a religious vocation in our Church.


St. Theresa’s Conducts First Maronite Heritage Day

 By Fr. Anthony J. Salim
Brockton, Massachusetts

On 6 November, Saturday of the Weekend of the Consecration of the Church, our liturgical New Year, the parish Religious Education Staff conducted the first of six Maronite Heritage Days of the 2010-11 Religious Education Program. The parish has, of course, a weekly Sunday School program which is conducted before the Sunday Qoorbono (Divine Liturgy). This program is composed of students attending area public schools.
But what about those children whose parents send them to Latin Catholic schools, and who get religion classes five days a week? Traditionally the parents of these children often think that this education is enough for the Faith. Consequently, too often they do not see the need to send them to the parish Sunday School program. The problem with this, of course, is that while getting a Catholic education from the Latin-rite vision, how will the children learn about anything Eastern and Maronite?

To address this common eparchial problem, pastor Fr. Anthony Salim, working with the parish religious education staff, notably Coordinator Gordon McKinnon and catechist Alison Saade, Heritage Days Coordinator, has developed six sessions to address this need. These sessions are called “Maronite Heritage Days.” Held on selected Saturdays from 1:30 to 3:40 pm (ending before the 4 pm Saturday vigil Qoorbono), the program offers teaching in 4 areas: Maronite Identity; Maronite Worship; Syriac Culture, and Basic Catholic Beliefs. Helping with these special days are Sr. Marla Marie Lucas and Postulant Therese Touma, of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Alison taught about the background of the Maronite Church; Sister and Therese taught about St. Maron, and Fr. Anthony explained about the Syriac—the written form of Jesus’ Aramaic—that we use in the Qoorbono, and focused on the meaning of the Trisagion (Qadeeshat Aloho) and how the variable responses of the Liturgical Year help us to enter into the spirit of the seasons and their meanings. The children impressively sang this ancient hymn in Syriac and leaned to sing it in English as well.

Our first session was a big success, with about 35 children—of both public and Catholic schools—and a dozen parents, some of whom stayed for the entire session, then took their children to Divine Liturgy. All in all, with staff, about 50 people participated.

The next session, on Saturday 4 December, will focus on the Righteous and Just (i.e, the Saints), including St. Barbara (feast day 4 December) and St. Nicholas (6 December). The children will plant legumes, according to the custom, and the sprouted plants will be brought to the Créche-Manger for Christmas. We will also begin to explain the Service of the Word and about our Lectionary, among other items.


Maronite Young Adult Workshop- Miami

By Therese Touma
Last weekend (October29th-31st), the Maronite Servants took part in the Maronite Young Adult (MYA) Leadership workshop in Miami, FL. Fr. Elie Mikhael pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon, Miami hosted the event along with the help of Fr. Elias Sleiman (Los Angeles), Fr. Jean Younes (Danbury/ Westchester), and the MYA Board.

Over 100 Maronite young adults were present, traveling from across the U.S. to learn more about leadership and growing the MYA. Also in attendance were some of their clergy, Fr. Vincent Farhat (Lawrence), Fr. Naji Kiwan (Waterbury), Fr. Pierre El Khoury (Houston), Fr. Toni Akouri (Somerset) and Fr. Rudolf Wakim (Carnegie/Aliquippa).

The guest speaker for the workshop, Fr. John Cusick, addressed how to effectively initiate parish young adult groups and strategies to keep them going. Fr. Cusick suggested a number of key ideas to get a group started, such as the following:

• Think of the people before getting the program and activities started. Be direct with people, get to know them personally, think of a suitable time and invite them to come to the parish.

• Have a realistic goal of how many people you will need to form this group. Be optimistic!

• To create an effective group, dream BIG, go slow (a few things done well is vital) and think small.

In one of the workshops, Dorothy Polchinski, director of young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and close collaborator with St. Joseph’s MYA, gave a talk on practical strategies for ministry. She also spoke about travel plans to attend World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. Dorothy invited Maronite adults ages 18-35 to attend World Youth Day in conjunction with her group from Atlanta. She emphasized that this would be a great opportunity to give witness and celebrate the gift of our faith with other Catholic youth from around the world. For more information, see the Archdiocese of Atlanta website http://www.yam.org/events/wyd2011.php.

The weekend concluded with the Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon, Miami followed by a luncheon in the parish hall to honor of those who attended the workshop.


MYO – Regional Retreat Weekend 2010

MYO retreatants.  Abouna Jean and Abouna Jack are center.
By Therese Touma

The Maronite Servants were able to participate in the MYO regional retreat for New England held on October 22-24 at the Wisdom Retreat House in Litchfield, Connecticut. Fr. Jean Younes (Danbury) and Fr. Jack Morrison (New Bedford) directed a dynamic group of 50 teens from several parishes, and were assisted by a great crew of adult advisors.

Speaking on the theme of the Theology of the Body, Dr. Allan Ramey, a Maronite, was the main presenter. Dr. Ramey is a member of St. Anthony’s in Lawrence and a dedicated father of eight children.
In his engaging talks, Dr. Ramey explained some of the teachings on Theology of the Body citing the work of Pope John Paul II. He directed his presentation to the challenges faced by teens, and how the Theology of the Body can help them to understand and seek their vocation “calling”, to either marriage, the priesthood or religious life.

Dr. Ramey beautifully pointed out that just as God created man and woman to become one flesh in matrimony and bring forth a child as a fruit of their love, God too is also here revealing to us something of his own inner life. In married life, we can see a reflection of the Trinitarian nature of God as love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I was inspired by Dr. Ramey’s sharing of his journey of faith. He witnessed how daily prayer, frequenting the mysteries (sacraments) and the attendance of at daily Liturgy have strengthened and sustained him throughout his life, especially in the difficult times. He inspired the teens and I to aim higher in knowing and living the virtues, in seeking good choices and staying close to the Mysteries of Penance and Eucharist.

On Saturday, the group visited Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Litchfield, and under the remarkably colored fall leaves, we prayed the outdoor Stations of the Cross led by Father Jack.
That evening, Fr. Vincent, Fr. Jack and Fr. Jean heard confessions in the chapel. This was an awesome way to conclude the day in thanksgiving, and in seeking and receiving the ever-flowing mercy of God.


Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops

Middle East Synod Opening Liturgy at St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. 
Our Patriarch Sfier concelebrating with His Holiness. 
Read more about this important Synod 
which convened on Oct. 11th and concludes this week.

Sunday Scripture Reflection
In the Maronite Church this Sunday is the 6th Week of the Season of the Holy Cross.
By Abouna Anthony J. Salim, Pastor of St. Theresa's Maronite Church, Brockton MA

This Sunday’ s Readings make a practical point, which is good deeds that get us ready for the 2nd Coming of our Lord and for entering into his joy, as the Lord Jesus promises in the parable of the talents.

First Reading: Galatians 6:1-10
The believer is “ spiritual” as long as one submits to the Holy Spirit, and as long as the Spirit bears fruit in that one, so that one may see, understand, and compare Christian spiritual truths, in order to have a deep, correct, and global knowledge (1Corinthians 2:15). “ The Law of Christ” is the Law of the Spirit that Christ himself lived during his life on our earth, and the one who accomplishes this law becomes like Christ Jesus. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit and the fulfillment of the Law. It compels us to bear our brothers’ and sisters’ sins and shortcomings in order to assist them and lead them to conversion. This is the rule of participation among believers, and every believer has to express this Law of love, the Law of Christ, in one’ s life, acts, and relations with everyone. Next, the Apostle Paul warns believers about growing tired of doing good. He exhorts them to a personal and serious work, a faithful and unceasing struggle, as they long for the Day of the 2nd Coming of the Lord, who comes to reward them and repay everyone according to one’ s deeds. There is herein an application of the Lord Jesus’ teaching on the Parable of the Talents, this Sunday’ s Gospel.

“T’was grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home!”

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
This parable highlights the responsibility of the believer and the obligation of investing God’ s gifts, to settle a growing account to God on the Day of his Coming. The talent is a coin of gold or silver whose value is six thousand denarii (pl.), a denarius (sing.) being the daily wage of a laborer. This is an expression of God’ s richness and unending bounty: He gave us not only mind and will, a physical body
and health, and the earth’ s goods; he gave us also his heavenly Kingdom and allowed us to share in his divine life itself (in baptism), everyone according to his capacity. The Master’ s journey is, then, his return after a long time. It is a proof of the sufficient time given to us to act with our liberty and full responsibility until the 2nd Coming of the Lord, who will settle account with us. The reward is also gratuitous, freely given, an eternal joy with the Master! Punishment is for the servant who hid the talent in the ground and disobeyed his Master’ s command: “ … you should have put my silver on the money changer’ s table!” Furthermore, he disfigured his Master’ s image and represented him as authoritarian, unjust, greedy, and harsh, thus damaging is relationship with his Master as well. The adventure of faith is the thing that is needed, and faith is the acceptance of and faithfulness to God’ s grace freely given to


Pro-Life Update - Election Day

By Deacon Nicholas Mammi

Office of Family and Sanctity of Life

Election Day is three weeks away. Please exercise your right as a U.S. citizen and fullfill your Christian duty at the polls. More than 460 seats of Congress (both in the House and the Senate) will be determined by this mid-term election. Additionally, each vote as a voice of the people, contributes toward a message to the White House. I urge you to visit the polls on election day and vote pro-life. If you are not familiar with the candidates, begin your research now and examine the candidates' platform and voting history. Spread the word about pro-life candidates among friends and colleagues. Exhort the Christian assembly to vote pro-life.

I hope the following links will offer assistance in the development of an informed vote.

good article on the mid-term effect
2010 Senate Races
2010 Senate endorsements by National Right to Life
U.S. House of Representatives scorecard by National Right to Life

I will close with the following reflection by Archbishop Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis --
"Some will say that the defense of innocent life is only one issue among many, that it is important but not fundamental. They are wrong. In the natural moral law, the good of life is the most fundamental good and the condition for the enjoyment of all other goods."


Eastern Christian New Media Awards -- Nominate Us

Nominate RadiateHisLight.blogspot.com for Best Group Blog & Most Visually Attractive Blog for Eastern Christian New Media Awards.
Nominations have opened for this year for the 2010 awards. Please send in your nominations and spread the word, the deadline October 31st. 
Help us to get nominated for voting.  In 2009, we were awarded the Most Visually Attractive Blog.


Witnessing For Life

Sister Marla Marie (r), Abouna Salim (c), Therese Touma (l), praying the rosary.
  by Therese Touma

On Wednesday October 6th, the Maronite Servants along with Fr. Anthony Salim, pastor of St. Theresa’s Maronite Church, Brockton participated in the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in Attleboro, M.A. In the wind and rain, holding our umbrellas and rosaries, we offered up an hour of prayer outside a local abortion facility in witness to the sanctity of life.
With October being the month of the Holy Rosary and Respect Life, we prayed the four mysteries and asked our Blessed Mother to pray with us for the intentions of all the unborn children, for the conversion of those who work at the abortion centers and for the closure of all these facilities.

40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign organized by lay people promoting the value and dignity of life.
Through the use of peaceful prayer and fasting, constant vigil and community outreach, 40 days for Life seeks to make the public aware of the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, and ultimately put an end to the evil of abortion in America, and all over the world. Visit the website for more details.

The 40 day period began September 22nd and will continue through to October 31st. In total there are 238 locations in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland and Denmark participating 40 Days for Life. On day 15, it has been reported on their website that campaigns of prayer and fasting have so far saved 166 babies from abortion!

In 2005, in America alone, 1.21 million babies were aborted. Since 2007 six coordinated 40 Days for Life campaigns have taken place. As a result of these joined efforts, participants have witnessed many blessings from God. Some are noted below.

Reports document 2,811 lives that have been spared from abortion — and those are just the ones that have been reported 36 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry.
Seven abortion facilities completely shut down following local 40 Days for Life campaigns.
Hundreds of women and men have been spared from the tragic effects of abortion, including a lifetime of regrets.

More than 850 news stories have been featured in newspapers, magazines, radio shows and TV  programs from coast to coast ... and overseas.


Sisters Request Your Help

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light Sisters now have a place to call home “Mary, Mother of the Light Monastery”, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. “This home will help our current and future Sisters to live a life of prayer, ministry, and study. Our doors are open to welcome you, the faithful, for retreats, conferences, days of prayer and other apostolic works and activities,” said Sister Marla Marie, superior.

Founded in 2008 in collaboration with Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, this new Congregation of nuns serve the faithful in our Maronite parishes. Sr. Marla Marie accepted the first two candidates this past February, Therese Touma and Tresa Van Heusen. These young women are in the formation program preparing to consecrate their lives in service to the Church.

The recently purchased home is situated on five acres and had served as the former novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Hope who owned this home since 1960 after acquiring it from the original owners, the Prescott Family, who had it built in 1895. Over the years, as the Dominican Sisters declined in numbers and advanced in age, this property became too much for them to maintain.

“We are grateful to be able to purchase this property, thanks to the help of seed money from the Eparchy of St. Maron and a mortgage,” Sr. Marla Marie explained. “We are happy to think that soon we will be able to move into this permanent home, but before we can move in, much required renovation work must be done.”

This is a lovely house, but it is in need of great repair. The Sisters immediate needs are to repair the roof and gutters; update the plumbing; install furnace safety valves; install a security fire/alarm system; paint the interior; bring the electrical service up to code; upgrade the bathrooms, among other renovations.

“I ask for your help to provide the needed funds to get this new Monastery up and running so that we can move in before Christmas,” requests Sr. Marla Marie, adding, “would you please donate to our renovation fund and enlist others to help us too? Our postulants, Tresa and Therese, and I have a huge task at hand, but with your help our burden will be considerably lightened.”

For more information on how to help the Sisters refer to the “News and Events” section of their website or call Sister Marla Marie at 781-331-3290. Tax deductible donations can be given via the website through PayPal or they can be mailed to Sr. Marla Marie, 109 Remsen Street, Brooklyn NY 11201. Thank you for your support.


Maronite Servants Present Catechesis on St. Maron

In response the 1600th anniversary commemorating the death of Saint Maron, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light have creatively developed a curriculum on Saint Maron for religious formation to present to grades K-6, and the teens in MYO. In presenting these interactive lessons, the Sisters use various props, Scripture, visual technologies and activities, to help the youth to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Maronite spirituality, traditions, and way of prayer. Also, the Maronite Servants have a presentation prepared for the MYA.
St. Theresa's Maronite Church in Brockton has already requested the Maronite Servants to offer this program as part of their Heritage Day catechesis. The presentations on St. Maron will teach on his history, his importance in the founding of our Maronite Church, and his current influence on Maronite spirituality, and way of worship. In the teen presentation, the Sisters discuss growing in virtue and weeding out vice in our lives. St. Maron compared this to the analogy of cultivating the garden of our hearts, to make them fertile in receiving and living God’s Word.
Overall, this curriculum will provide children with inspiring information about St. Maron and engaging activities to reinforce the lesson. If your parish is interested in these presentations, contact Sister Marla Marie at sister@maroniteservants.org or phone 781-331-3290.


May he rest in peace - Archbishop Francis M. Zayek

Join us in prayer for the repose of soul of  His Excellency, Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, 90, emeritus archbishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, who died on the September 14, 2010, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Here is the September 14, 2010 letter of Bishop Gregory John Mansour, Eparchy of  Saint Maron of Brooklyn, addressed to the Bishops:

"Dear Brother Bishops,
We just received the sad news that our founding bishop, who served us for over 30 years, Archbishop Francis M. Zayek, passed away on the Feast of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2010, in Lebanon.
Archbishop Zayek was born October 18, 1920, the son of Mansour and Mariam (Khoury) Zayek in Manzanillo, Cuba. In 1931, the entire family immigrated to Lebanon.

After seminary studies in Lebanon and in Rome, he was ordained a priest on March 17, 1946 in Rome. After completing a doctorate in canon law in Rome, he was appointed to serve the Maronite community in Cairo where he also worked in the Apostolic Nunciature. He later returned to Rome and served as the Promoter of Justice at the Roman Rota.

On May 31, 1962, Pope John XXIII appointed him bishop to serve the Maronites in Brazil, and he was consecrated on August 5, 1962 in Dimane, Lebanon, by Patriarch Paul Peter Cardinal Meouchi.
Archbishop Zayek was one of the last surviving bishops, who as a bishop, attended all of the sessions of the Second Vatican Council.

On January 10, 1966, Pope Paul VI established the Maronite Apostolic Exarchate in the United States and appointed Bishop Zayek as the first Exarch. He was installed on June 11, 1966 in Detroit, MI, where he would establish his See.

Pope Paul VI raised the Exarchate to the rank of Diocese (Eparchy) on November 20, 1971, and he appointed Bishop Zayek as the first bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron, for all Maronites of the United States. He was installed as such on June 4, 1972. The See was moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1977.
In recognition of his pioneering work in the United States, he was given the personal title of Archbishop by Pope John Paul II on December 10, 1982. Upon reaching the canonical age, Archbishop Zayek retired in 1996.
Archbishop Zayek was predeceased by two brothers and three sisters. He is survived by his brother, Elias, in Brazil, and his sister, Lydia, in Lebanon, and several nieces and nephews.

A Forty Day Divine Liturgy is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, 2010, at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, 109 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY, at 7:00 p.m. A Meal of Mercy will follow in the Cathedral hall. You are most welcome to join the clergy, religious and laity of the Maronite Church to honor this truly great Churchman and to pray for the repose of his soul. ...
The Maronite Church in the United States is deeply indebted to the archbishop for his zealous efforts in establishing the strong, vibrant Maronite community we have today. May Archbishop Zayek share in the glory of the Cross which we celebrate this day!

Bishop Robert Shaheen and I extend our profound condolences to the family and many friends of Archbishop Zayek, and to all who loved him and in any way made his work a truly graced effort to the glory of God. May he rest in peace."

Archbishop Frances M. Zayek (left), Bishop Robert Shaheen (right).


Feast of the Holy Cross

By Father Anthony J. Salim
Pastor of St. Theresa in Brockton, MA

Commentary on the Readings of the Feast
Opening chant:
The Lord reigns, clothed in majesty, Alleluia!
I am the Bread of Life, said our Lord.
From on high I came to earth so all might live in me.
Pure Word without flesh I was sent from the Father.
Mary’s womb received me,
like good earth a grain of wheat.
Behold! The priests bear me aloft to the altars.
Alleluia! Accept our offerings.

Our Liturgy: The Lectionary Readings for the Feast:
1Cor 1:18-25 Jn 12:20-32

That the saving Cross of Jesus Christ is at the centre of the Christian experience is beyond doubt.  without the great sacrifice of his life for the taking away of sins, the most traditional of Christian theology from the time of St Paul on says, we would not be able to reach eternal happiness with the Blessed Trinity.
Yet, Christian Tradition has always seen two sides of this Cross: death and shame, yes, on Great Friday of the Crucifixion; but glory and power too, as verses 31-32 of today’s selection from Paul indicate. It is not always easy to speak about this paradox of the Christian life. Paul indicates this in his First Letter to the Corinthians, verses 18 to 25. Who could imagine then that a criminal’s death could be the standard of of a religion? We are, in the words of Paul, “on the way to salvation”; thus, we believe this talk of the Cross.
When we think of the Cross, most Christians, if pushed, would probably think of Great Friday before Easter. However, since the 4th century, with the story of St Helena’s finding the true Cross, this great feast, celebrated on 14 September, tells us of the “other side” of the Cross: glory after suffering, and God’s power to save.
This paradox is stated in an earthy image in John’s Gospel: The dying of the grain of wheat grows into a source of nourishment and life. Thus, we share in the glory of Christ, through his dying.

Patristic Commentary
JESUS AS THE GRAIN OF WHEAT. However, he (Jesus) says, my death must not upset you. As indeed a grain of wheat is just a single grain before falling into the earth, after it has fallen and decomposed, it sprouts forth in great glory and produces double fruit by showing before everyone its riches in its ears and display­ing the spectacle of its beauty to those looking on. This is the same way you should think about me. Now I am alone, and just one more man among obscure people without any glory. But when I undergo the passion of the cross, I will be raised in great honor. And when I produce much fruit, then everyone will know me—not only the Jews but also the people of the entire world will call me their Lord. Then, not even the spiritual powers will refuse to worship me. (THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA, COMMENTARY ON JOHN)


Help Support the Sisters by Recycling your Used Electronics

Do you have old laptops, cell phones, Mp3 players, digital cameras, and other technology sitting around the house or office collecting dust and cobwebs?  Why not turn them into money for our charity.  Here's how...

A gadget drive is a new way to fundraise that turns your used electronics into cash to support a cause. Contributing to the drive is simple. Just visit the drive webpage at http://maroniteservants.gazelle.com, find the value of the gadgets you would like to donate, and send them to Gazelle (SHIPPING IS FREE). The value will go to support the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. If you would like to donate, please go to Support the Maronite Servants  to learn more about the drive and how you can participate!

Would you please promote this on your Facebook, blog, or to your email list? Many folks have at least one old item sitting around the house. 
                                                         old cell phones =  $ for charity

Photo Gallery Update

Visit our updated Photo Gallery on our website. The labeled photos contain our various visits to Maronite parishes and our travels to Eparchial events. Some memorable photo files to mention include our attendance to Abouna Lahood’s Retirement Liturgy at Our Lady of Cedars; Ramsho & Supper Evenings at the Monastery; our teen retreat ‘Radiate His Light’; our recreational activities such as walks on the beach, making brownies; and visiting the Shrine for the Shroud of Turin in New York; our visit to Abouna Kesrouani at Yale University; catechism classes with fifth graders at Immaculate Conception parish, and more.
Please share this link with family and friends. The photos speak for themselves of the joy and balance that we live as Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.
Keep posted to our Photo Gallery to see more pictures to come: our visit to Washington DC for classes with Chor Bishop Beggiani, the ordinations of Fr. Vince and Fr. Tony, the NAM Convention in Alabama and the recent Assumption Feast pilgrimage in Ohio. 


Pro-Life Allert -- FDA Approves "Ella"

By: Deacon Nicholas Mammi   Eparchy Of Saint Maron, Office of Family and Sanctity of Life

Deacon Nicholas and the Eparchy Pro-Life display at NAM.
My Dear Pro-Life Friends,

On August 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new drug called “ella” (Ulipristal acetate) for use as an “emergency contraceptive” up to five days after sexual intercourse. While promoted as a contraceptive drug, ella crosses the line between contraception and abortion. It has significant potential to cause abortion of a six to ten day old embryo. The drug inhibits progesterone, a hormone required for a healthy pregnancy. This, in turn, creates an inhospitable endometrium which will either prevent implantation or disrupt the already established implantation of the baby. As a result, the child will die from lack of nutrients and slough off in the woman's next menstrual cycle.
This new development is clearly in conflict with our Catholic Moral Teaching. Moreover, it can mislead women -- by product misrepresentation -- to unintentionally abort a child while their intention is to prevent conception. Please include this sad event in your daily prayers. Consider a phone call or written comment to the FDA, their advisors and federal officials who oversee the FDA. Please see the links and bullet points below that will assist in your further education and communications.
Drug Label Information --

How to contact the FDA --

FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee Roster --

Members U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee that oversees the FDA

Members U.S. Senate Committee that oversees the FDA

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new drug called “ella” (Ulipristal acetate) for use as an “emergency contraceptive” up to five days after sexual intercourse. The FDA approval blurs the line between preventing conception in the first place, and preventing implantation or even ending an established pregnancy after implantation, killing a person in the earliest weeks of life. If the mother’s endometrium is not hospitable or starts to shed prematurely, the 6-to-10-day-old embryo will have difficulty becoming or remaining implanted in the womb. According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters, 58% of women consider abortion morally wrong in most cases. Blurring the line between abortion and contraception undermines women’s informed consent.

It is a huge disservice to women of any religious faith (or none) who would not knowingly choose to abort.

Women and men alike deserve to know that ella can cause abortions. Its labelling, warnings and promotions should indicate such.

As always, thank you for your prayers and support for life!


Blessed Estephan Nahme

Brother Estephan and Lehfed  in Lebanon.  A great short video done by Corpus Christi Watershed giving a tour of this saint's hometown in the Byblos region of Lebanon. 


Assumption Pilgrimage 2010

By Tresa Van Heusen
For the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, the Maronite Servants travelled to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio. The pilgrimage was full of opportunities to gather, pray, share some great food, and to socialize with many Maronites from across the country, including our beloved Bishops, Robert Shaheen and Gregory Mansour, as well as many of our priests and sisters.
The pilgrimage took place from August 13th through the 15th and included the Maronite Divine Liturgy, Roman Rite Divine Liturgy, Melkite Divine Liturgy, Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy, as well as opportunities to say the rosary together and pray the Ramsho (Maronite Vespers) with the Antonine Sisters. Every evening concluded with a candlelight procession, to include fireworks over the Shrine on the day of the Feast of the Assumption. The pilgrimage was a wonderful opportunity to gather and pray with the faithful on an important feast in our Church.


Days of Retreat

We were graced to share in days of retreat and extended silence at the Mount Saint Marcrina House of Prayer in Uniontown, PA.  The spacious and scenic grounds of this monastery offered the perfect setting for our meditation and solitude. 
Our retreat was directed by Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, a member of the Sisters of St. Basil.  Currently, she serves as vocation directress and the program director of the House of Prayer.  The Divine Liturgy was offered each day by Abouna Nadim Helou, newly assigned pastor of St. George Maronite parish in Uniontown.  
The Maronite Servants with Sr. Barbara Jean in the Shrine
to  Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 
Our theme was "Seek My Face", in which Jesus calls us to a life of deeper prayer, especially through Sacred Scripture.
Tresa Van Heusen:  "On our first day of retreat we were asked to meditate on Isaiah 6. I was struck by..."here I am, send me!"  I found myself saying to him, "here I am, send me!"  With all the love and forgiveness I have received from Our Lord, my desire is to serve his will, to go where he wants me to go, and do what he wants me to do."
The House of Prayer Chapel (Byzantine Catholic Church).
Therese Touma:  "As a postulant, I found this retreat encouraging as it gave me the opportunity to get to know myself more in the light of the Holy Spirit, and to grow in my desire to see, know and love the Lord more deeply, as an intimate friend. I learned that if I want to grow in my friendship with Christ, then I need to give him more of a chance to speak to me, share himself and transform me into his image." 


Film about the Blessed Massabki Brothers

Fire in Damascus
This a new documentary telling the story of the Blessed Massabki brothers and their Maronite witness during the 1860 massacre. Take a few minutes to watch the trailer of "Fire in Damascus" and send Eric your comments (the link is in the above title). 
"Award-winning filmmaker and Watershed staff member Eric Hinojosa has been living in Lebanon, working tirelessly to bring to fruition a documentary film about the Blessed Massabki Brothers, the Emir Abd El-Kader, and the events surrounding the 1860 massacre in Damascus. The film tells of heroism and sanctity, showcases fascinating characters and sheds light on the Christian community in the Middle East."  (Watershed website)
Eric with Sister Marla Marie at the Monastery.


Maronite Servants on Retreat

Please remember us this week (August 8-13) as we take our annual silent retreat in the refreshing setting of the Monastery of Mount Saint Macrina in Uniontown, PA.  Be sure of our prayers for you.
From Uniontown, we continue on to the annual Assumption Pilgrimage at the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, OH (August 13-15). 

W A O B - New Catholic Radio Network

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour interviewed by Father Boniface.
By WAOB Staff

On July 22nd and 23rd, 2010 the staff of We Are One Body radio network had the privilege of welcoming to its studios Bishop Gregory Mansour, several Maronite priests, and Sr. Marla Marie Lucas, MSCL.

We Are One Body (WAOB) is a new Catholic radio network serving the universal Church from its main studios in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. WAOB began broadcasting on March 19, 2010 - the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We Are One Body radio network is a response to the call of the Church in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Social Communication, which teaches: The Catholic Church, since it was founded by Christ our Lord to bear salvation to all men and thus is obliged to preach the Gospel, considers it one of its duties to announce the Good News of salvation also with the help of the media of social communication…” (Inter Mirifica, 3)

In the same document, the Council Fathers placed particular responsibility for such endeavors in the hands of the Pastors, the Bishops, stating: “Pastors should hasten, therefore, to fulfill their duty in this respect, one which is intimately linked with their ordinary preaching responsibility.” (Inter Mirifica, 13)

One of WAOB’s principal aims is to support the Church’s Mission of Evangelization by offering her bishops and priests a means of communication which allows them to reach a wide audience, to teach and instruct souls in the truths of the Faith and the life of prayer, and to go in search of the Lord’s lost sheep.

WE ARE ONE BODY (WAOB) currently owns three radio stations, WAOB-FM 106.7; WAOB 860 AM and WPGR 1510 AM, that cover a population of approximately 3 million people in western Pennsylvania, the northern panhandle of West Virginia and eastern Ohio - reaching the faithful primarily in the Dioceses of Greensburg and Pittsburgh, and also in five surrounding dioceses in the Tri-State area. These stations also reach the Eastern Eparchies located within these geographical regions, including the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron. WAOB will also be reaching dioceses and eparchies throughout the world by broadcasting all programming over the Internet via live, streaming audio and by making it accessible through digital media and mobile devices. Using satellite technologies, We Are One Body will also make its programming available free of charge to any radio station(s) wishing to rebroadcast. In this way, bishops and priests will be allowed to reach the widest possible audience, both within and beyond their own dioceses.

Programming Content
The programming content being developed by WAOB focuses on broadcasting Catholic teaching rooted in Sacred Scripture, the Church’s magisterial documents, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and the writings of the Church’s doctors and saints. The goal is that these teachings will be given principally by Bishops since they, as the successors of the Apostles, are the Church’s authentic teachers (Lumen Gentium, 25).

WAOB’s programming also focuses on drawing listeners into interior silence and conversation with the Lord. This will be accomplished first and foremost by putting listeners in daily contact with bishops and priests who will offer reflections, teach and help listeners to live in a spirit of interior recollection and faith throughout their day, guide listeners in pondering the inspired Word of God in Sacred Scripture, read and provide commentary on papal encyclicals and other magisterial and ecclesial documents, and much more. This will also be accomplished by drawing listeners into an encounter with the Church at prayer – through the broadcast of the Holy Mass (Divine Liturgy or Service of the Holy Mysteries); the Liturgy of the Hours (also from different liturgical rites); the Scriptural Rosary; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and sacred music from East and West. Prayer is broadcast from basilicas, churches and shrines, seminaries, monasteries and religious communities, parish communities, lay groups, families and youth. Pope Benedict XVI recently said, addressing a Catholic Media convention: "If your mission is to be truly effective -- if the words you proclaim are to touch hearts, engage people's freedom and change their lives -- you must draw them into an encounter with persons and communities who witness to the grace of Christ by their faith and their lives.” WAOB is working towards just this goal.

WAOB offers its heartfelt thanks to the Maronite Bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful for their generous response to this mission. WAOB was pleased to broadcast the Service of the Holy Mysteries celebrated by Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, D.D. (Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, St. Louis MO) and Bishop Gregory J. Mansour (Eparchy of St. Maron, Brooklyn NY) during the annual MYO conference held this year in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, July 20-24. WAOB also currently broadcasts reflections given by Bishop Gregory Mansour; the Service of the Holy Mysteries from Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary in Washington, DC; and has most recently begun broadcasting Safro (Morning Prayer) from the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Their prayer is a most beautiful and welcome addition!
Bishop Gregory with the WAOB staff in Latrobe studios.


Highlights -- Maronite Youth Workshop 2010

By Therese Touma

Heroes…who are our Heroes? Who do we look up to? What good qualities can I imitate in them and put into practice in my own life? What can I take back and implement in our Maronite Youth group to make a positive difference in our parish community?

These were some of the many questions that were discussed in the interactive workshops. We watched inspiring videos and reflected on the lives of different people from our everyday life, such as Mother Teresa who worked with the poor and destitute, and the pilot named Scully who skillfully landed the plane that crashed on the Hudson River- without losing the life of a single person on board.

Still today, many courageous men and women are generously making a significant difference in hospitals, in their families, on the streets and in various missions by their ongoing dedication, sacrificial love and passion to serve those who are needy and alone. “Heroes” sure stand out in the world, as they bring hope, love and joy into the lives of many people.

Overall, the workshops provided an opportunity for the teens to stop and sincerely examine their own lives, those in their community, who are poor and unloved, and the people they look up to in their own lives for inspiration and direction. Great discussions took place in and between the groups, as teens shared about their own group created superhero. Let us all always have before our eyes, the Ultimate Hero, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who loved us to the point of giving us His own life, so that we may have eternal life.

Eucharistic Adoration
Every day, Father Gary George, director of the Youth Workshop led the teens in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He beautifully explained and showed us in prayer how the Eucharist defines who we are as Maronites. He encouraged the teens to continue to make time in their parish to cultivate a great love and worship for the Eucharist, Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity exposed on the altar, and to share the grace and beauty of the Mystery (Sacrament) with their families and friends.

Mission Service- Mercy, Compassion, Reconciliation
In the beginning of the Mission Service session, the teens were asked to take and hold onto a dirty rock symbolizing the sin and burden they carry in their lives. While the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, our Bishops and ten Maronite priests were hearing confessions, and after the teens had been absolved, they were asked to place their dirty rock at the foot of the altar along with their written prayer intention, and then get their hands washed from the dirt. This was a powerful visual and symbolic action of being cleansed from sin in the Mystery of Penance.
As one of the helpers washing the hands of the teens, I was moved by the healing power of Christ’s mercy in this beautiful Mystery.

Sports & Recreation
Basketball was the competitive and popular sport that the teens were playing for recreation throughout the week. It was great to get out there with girls on the court and enjoy the youth’s presence, energy and talents! See photo collage for the girls’ basketball team.
On the last day, the teens enjoyed a refreshing day out at Idlewild, Water Park.


Heroes - Maronite Youth Organization Retreat 2010

Our MYO Annual Retreat and Conference is winding down (July 19-24) at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA.  We are exploring the theme of "Heroes" especially in the example of our saints.  Over 300 are gathered for this week of Maronite spirituality and social events drawing youth 12-18 from all over the country.  More on this event will be posted next week.  Our Bishops, clergy, seminarians,and religious join with the youth for a photo outside the Basilica on campus.
Saint Charbel, pray for us !


NAM in Birmingham - 2010

By Tresa Van Huesen

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light travelled south to Birmingham, Alabama, to attend the 47th Annual National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) Convention. During our stay, we were able to tour the city and local area, including a trip to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, a tour of the EWTN studio, and visits to the Birmingham Art Museum and the Civil Rights Institute.
We were also blessed to spend time with our Bishops, Priests and Deacons from each Eparchy during Safro (Morning) and Ramsho (Evening) prayers, as well as the Divine Liturgy. Once the Convention kicked off on Wednesday, it was great to see dear friends arrive into the city and to meet many new ones. We shared information on our recent adventures and activities through our table in the hospitality area, and also presented in the workshop titled A Maronite Legacy: How to Foster Religious Vocations in Your Family.
At least one Maronite Servant was able to attend each of the other workshops, which included: Maronite Music; Discovering Our “Faith of the Mountain;” Identity of the Maronite Church; and learning more about St. Maron and the pursuit to canonize the Massabki Brothers.
The week was a nice blend of spiritual and social, giving us an opportunity to come closer to our wider Maronite Community here in the United States. We are grateful to the NAM Board and Directors,
as well as our supporters, for the opportunity to attend.


NAM Convention - Birmingham 2010

It was a great experience to be on the set of EWTN LIVE on July 7th.  Father Mitch Pacwa hosted our Maronite Bishops, Robert Shaheen and Gregory Mansour in a lively discussion on the Maronite Church. 

The over-flow audience was predominately our Maronite clergy and faithful attending the National Apostolate of Maronites Convention in Birmingham, Alabama.
Mother Marla Marie was surprised to be invited by Fr. Pacwa to speak at the end of the program.  Mother had the opportunity to briefly share about the mission of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. 
More photos and info on the NAM Convention to be posted next week.