|Joan Hanley & George Campbell with Sister Marla Marie. |
After attending our first Maronite Mass, I was hooked. I felt like I was home. With every fibre in my body resonating with the Maronite tradition, it felt like I had changed religions and was finally where I had longed to be.
For many, many years, ever since I was a child really, I felt like something was missing in our Roman Catholic religion. For whatever reason, I could never understand why if God was a Jew, why we weren't Jewish. It just never seemed to make sense to me. In attending Jewish ceremonies of friends, I always felt comfortable in their temples or homes and was surprised to observe how much their religion, I felt, mirrored ours.
When we attended our first Maronite mass at Our Lady of Mercy Maronite Catholic Church in Worcester, MA, Father Paul Mooradd mentioned that the Maronite religion was the closest religion there was to the Jewish religion. He also said that the presentation of the body and blood of Christ was still spoken not only in Jesus' words but also in the language Jesus used at the last supper. All I could say to myself was this religion just keeps getting better and better. Here I was, exactly where I have always felt I belonged.
From the first day we entered the Maronite church we were embraced and enveloped with love. If you have never been in a Maronite church, you probably wouldn't know what we were talking about. For those of you who have attended Maronite services, you know of what I speak. When arriving in Florida for the winter, our first mission was to locate a Maronite church. We joined Mary Mother of Light Maronite Catholic Church in Greenacres, FL and immediately felt at home. We also felt all the love and warmth in Florida, just like we did back in Massachusetts.
Meeting the nuns this weekend who are Maronite Servants of Christ the Light was rather timely. After coming home this week from our Maronite women's group meeting, I said to George "You know, I don't think the Maronite church could operate without the women." In both Florida and Massachusetts it is apparent that the women are the true movers and shakers of the church. I have never seen more dedication of women anywhere than in the Maronite church. These women are so truly loving and kind that they not only want to help their parish; but they want to help everyone in it. They are all true servants of God. I can't leave the men out. Once it is decided what types of events are to be held, the men jump in to help. The children of our Maronite churches also are great and can always be seen selling raffle tickets, assisting on the altar, or helping out in some way. Those of us who have discovered the Maronite religion are truly blessed to have it in our lives.
Thank you Sisters for dedicating your lives to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. May you always feel the love surrounding you of the Maronite family. Thank you Bishop Gregory also, for recognizing the women in our church and for beginning this ministry.