Radiate His Light Retreat Reflection

By: Evette Franjieh

The “Radiate HIS Light” Retreat with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light is a time in my life in which I will keep close to my heart and in my memory forever. Sister Marla Marie and her two postulants, Tresa and Therese, prepared a wonderful time at their convent where I and four other girls learned to open and feed our spiritual hearts and ask Jesus to come into our lives.

This remarkable retreat included lectures and reflections about Jesus’ Light and how it provides warmth, guidance and purification for our souls. Lectures by Tresa and Therese consisted of our history as Maronites, the Maronite Saints, Scripture and The Cell Phone versus the Bible, which put our daily lives into perspective. I was thankful that we were not allowed to bring cell phones, makeup or iPods, because it was an escape from the frantic world and the distractions from Jesus.

This retreat was not only comprised of lectures, but also fun activities which coincided with the main topic of the retreat. We played games like Marco-Polo, to ensure in us that we need Light to be shown our path in life and guidance through Scripture. We also had the pleasure of painting pots to grow our own plants (which also need light to grow).

By the end of the retreat, the other girls and I connected all the activities and lectures around His Light. We also attended liturgy and prayer with the Maronite Servants. Father Nadim Helou conducted Liturgy, provided a lecture, a time for reconciliation and shared a wonderful meal with us. At the end of the first day we watched a movie highlighting a young girl’s journey in choosing to start her vocation and we concluded with a traditional Dabke dance and a midnight prayer. We awoke the next day and were greeted by blessed weather, where we took a brief walk with Therese and Tresa to a nearby pond.
The retreat was so peaceful and very much needed in this hectic time in my life, dealing with being a senior, college, exams, graduation and the unnecessary drama of school. Sister Marla Marie and her Postulants were very inspirational and encouraging. They introduced to us new inspiring songs that got stuck in my head for the rest of the week.
I was very saddened to go, but we did not leave empty handed. Sister Marla Marie, Tresa and Therese not only gifted us with a goodie-bag but with the chance to open our hearts and invite Jesus into our lives. This was an amazing opportunity for young Maronite girls, like myself, to learn more about our rich history and become closer to Christ.

I will share with you one quote which sums up what I took away from my time at the convent, and has become my favorite quote that was focused on during the retreat “ Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a Light to my path” Psalm 119:105.

(Evette is a member of the MYO at St.Theresa Parish, Brockton MA.)


Studying at Yale

By Tresa Van Heusen

The Maronite Servants travelled to New Haven, Connecticut to visit with Abouna Elias Kesrouani, a visiting Professor of Ethnomusicology at Yale University. As an expert in Syriac Music, Abouna Elias gave a class to the Maronite Servants with an overview of the development of the Syriac language and music and how it became an integral aspect of our Maronite faith.

Abouna Elias, a Maronite Priest and Professor, earned his Ph.D in Musicology from the Sorbonne in 1989 with highly honorable mention, with a dissertation on the Syriac Scales. He also holds two M.A. degrees in Philosophy and Musicology and three B.A. degrees in Theology, Philosophy and Musicology from the Lebanese University and the University of the Holy Spirit respectively.

We spent a wonderful afternoon with Abouna Elias and his father Yousif, both in gaining better insight and knowledge into our Maronite culture and sharing in one another’s company.


Easter Celebrations

By Therese Touma
On our way to Poughkeepsie, New York, Mother Marla Marie’s home town, the Maronite Servants stopped over to celebrate morning Liturgy for Resurrection Sunday at St Anthony of the Desert in Springfield. After Divine Liturgy, we attended the Coffee Hour and enjoyed meeting the families of the parish.
For Easter Sunday, Mr. Lucas, Mother Marla Marie’s father invited us to the Family Easter Dinner at a restaurant in Poughkeepsie. We enjoyed meeting her family members, most for the first time, and listening to their childhood stories, as they also shared some of their family history, photos and experiences growing up.
Sister Marla Marie with her father, brothers and sisters, and niece. 

On our way home, on Easter Monday, we stopped over at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. We were blessed to arrive in time to join in the sung prayer of the Chaplet of Mercy and Benediction.


Spring Newsletter

Read our spring news and Easter wishes.  May the light of this glorious season of the resurrection illumine your heart.

These are some scenes from our worship in Passion Week.
Hosanna Sunday,  St. Anthony in Lawrence MA

Rite of the Lamp, St. Theresa in Brockton MA


by Aboona Anthony J. Salim

The resurrection of the Christ our Lord is the greatest saving event. All the events of our salvation flow from it and to it. The resurrection is the Feast of All Feasts. Our whole liturgical Year is centered upon it, because no liturgical celebration occurs unless in the presence of Christ raised and glorified, Christ’s Spirit, Christ the Lord, first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

First Reading: Philippians 2: 1-11
The unity among the believers does not occur except in a life of humility, self denial, the service of others, in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus. This was expressed in this ancient hymn used by Saint Paul, pointing out the different phases of the mystery of Christ: his eternal presence in the form of God the Father, his coming in the flesh in human likeness, his death on the cross, his exaltation and glorification, and the worship of the universe to him under his new name, “Lord.”

Gospel: Matthew 28: 1-10
The empty and open tomb, the revelation of the angel: “The Lord is not here, because he has been raised!”; the women disciples’ experience, the appearances of Jesus to his men and women disciples after his resurrection: These are the ancient proofs of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead, as preserved by the primary apostolic and evangelical tradition.

In our Maronite Tradition, the long-standing title for this central feast of our Faith is “The Big Feast.” This is because the Resurrection is the centerpiece of Christian belief. In fact, in ALL Traditions of Catholic heritage, EVERY SUNDAY IS TO BE CONSIDERED A MEMORIAL OF EASTER. In Christian spirituality, Christ is always in glory, no matter what season of the Liturgical Year the Church is celebrating. For example, even as we prepare for Christmas and the Birthday of the Infant Savior, we realize that we are celebrating the Risen Christ in glory.
The Eastern Traditions use the greeting, “Christ is risen!” to which one responds, “He is truly risen!” This can be said all throughout the six weeks of the Eastern Season, up to and including the great feast of Pentecost.

(Father Anthony J. Salim is pastor of St. Theresa's Maronite Church in Brockton, MA; and the author of "Captivated By Your Teachings", a Maronite Catechism for adults.