Saint Shayna & Saint Sassine- September 15

(Translation from the Maronite Martyrology)
Saint Abramius, also called Shayna (which means protection), was from Antioch, chief of a band of thieves. One day he wanted to rob a convent of nuns. He and his fellows dressed up as monks and entered the convent to rob it. The nuns received them in and one nun started washing his feet following the customs of the time and the place in receiving guests. One of the nuns was sick and paralyzed. She anointed herself with the dirty wash water and was healed. When Abramius saw this miracle along with the righteousness and holiness that reigned in this convent, he was so moved and immediately touched by grace that he decided to repent and give up his sinful way of life. At once he revealed his identity to the nuns and told them about his purpose for entering their convent. And to prove that, he showed them his hidden sword then put it in their hands to indicate granting them protection; therefore he was nicknamed Shayna meaning protection. He and his fellows became monks and ended their lives in works of repentance and asceticism. Shayna became their prior in the monastery. Through his guidance he converted a great number of pagans, then died in peace.

Saint Sassine was the bishop of the city of Cozikis. The governor of Cozikis arrested him. He bravely admitted his Christian faith. The governor got angry and ordered him to offer up to idols. He refused and began demonstrating that pagan worship and its superstitions are vain and that the Christian religion is the true religion. The governor raged and ordered him to be tortured. They tied him to untamed horses until his body got smashed. Then they whipped him hard but he held fast in his faith. They threw him in prison shackled with iron cuffs. When King Constantine the great rose to power, he defended the Church and liberated her from persecution; he released the holy bishop and restituted the bishopric seat to him. When the Arius heresy appeared, and the first Nicene Council convened in the year 325, Sassine began debating the followers of Arius and confuting them with his sound demonstrations. Then he returned to his seat spreading the teachings of the Nicene Council.
Galius was an enemy to Constantine and the Christians. He arrested bishop Sassine and inflicted upon him the worst tortures. He was beheaded and dies around the year 328.


Our Lady of Purgatory - New Bedford

MYO is back!
On Friday September 21st at 7:00PM we had our first MYO meeting at Our Lady of Purgatory, New Bedford. It has been eight years since the parish had an MYO. We had eight eager teens attend the meeting and more to come! It was a fun and eventful evening as we introduced the teens to what MYO is and gave them an opportunity to express what they would like to see in their meetings.
We had different faith activities, ice-breakers, and minute-to-win-it games to kick off our first meeting.  Abouna Jack Morrison, pastor, led the group in prayer, and spoke to them about the nature of prayer as talking to God, loving him, thanking him, asking for his help, and forgiveness.  Our next meeting is Friday October 19th for a night out at laser tag.

20th Anniversary
On Sunday 23rd September, the Divine Liturgy was offered in thanksgiving for Fr. Jack Morrison, and in celebration of his 20th anniversary of priesthood. Our prayers, love and support are with you Abouna! May God grant you many more years of health and fruitful ministry.
Pictured are the children and teens from the parish giving Fr. Jack a congratulatory card at the 10:00AM Liturgy.  The card was made at the religious education and MYO sessions.


Catechetical Year Has Begun

Catechesis - New Bedford, MA
At the request of Fr. Jack Morison, pastor at Our Lady of Purgatory, we began a Maronite Faith Formation program on Saturday September 15 for children in grades Kindergarten to sixth.
These monthly classes will include Scripture, teachings on Maronite traditions, spirituality, doctrine and prayer, crafts, visuals such as videos, music and interactive technology to help our children to grow in their Maronite faith and love for Jesus. Our next session will be Saturday October 6 ,10:00AM to noon.
Tips for Parents  - Providence, RI
At the request of Father Ed Nedder, pastor of St. George Maronite parish in Providence, Rhode Island, we attended the opening day of the parish catechetical program. Sister Marla Marie addressed the parents offering five practical tips for supporting their child’s faith formation.
Below are the “Five T's”:
1.     Talk- talk to your children about God and to God.

2.     Tradition- teach your children the Maronite traditions. Learn them and read more about them as they are being taught to the children in the Faith of the Mountain series.

3.     Ten Commandments- Teach your children the commandments and live them at home.

4.     Take- take your children every Sunday to Divine Liturgy, to the Mysteries of Penance, to  formation classes where they can encounter Jesus and grow in their knowledge and love of Him.

5.     Thank- Thank God and teach your children to have an attitude of gratitude! Help them to see that everything they have is a gift from God.


Pope Benedict in Lebanon

by His Excellency, Bishop Gregory J. Mansour
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Over fifteen years ago, Blessed John Paul II visited Lebanon. He met with youth, religious and civic leaders, and everywhere he went the streets were packed. What hope he brought! What joy! What confidence for a brighter future! During this historic visit he offered his much quoted word of encouragement: “Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message for East and West.” Lebanon has never been the same! A few years ago in the spirit of the Blessed Pontiff, Lebanese Muslims and Christians together petitioned the government saying that there are Muslim feast days and Christian feast days, but no Muslim-Christian feast day in Lebanon. It was therefore decided that March 25 every year was to be set aside as the first ever in the whole world, Muslim-Christian feast day, to prove there is still great power and joy in the “message” that is Lebanon!



Maronite Catechesis Workshop - Atlanta.

By Cecilia Romero

St Joseph Church of Atlanta, GA held its first Maronite Catechetical Workshop on Labor Day weekend, Sept 2 and 3, 2012. Sister Marla Marie Lucas was our guest catechtical presenter who guided the three session workshop over two days. Experienced and new catechists of different generations from our church were present. Sister Marla Marie's main theme was based on scripture: " Go and Make Disciples " Mat 28: 19 - 20. During the talks, Sister reminded us to take confidence since the catechetical program is God's program. She began the workshop with an excellent video/song about the impact that catechists make on their students. Sister then talked about the mission and journey of faith with emphasis of the roles of the catechists, the pastor, the families and the children. Sister gave us valuable Maronite information and resources to use for the program. She also spent time teaching us the six tasks of catechesis: promoting knowledge of the faith, liturgical education, moral formation, teaching to pray, building up our Maronite Christian communities and missionary initiative. In Sunday's session, Sister Marla Marie offered a presentation on praying with children. The session ended with the catechists praying before the tabernacle. Then each catechist was presented with a certificate by Deacon Bob Calabrese. On behalf of all the catechists and our Pastor Fr. Dominique Hanna, we gratefully thank Sister Marla Marie for her presentations which are invaluable sources of information that will help guide us to be more effective catechists to our children. It is our hope that Sister Marla Marie can give a future regional Maronite catechesis workshop in the southeast area.

MYO Atlanta - Lock In Retreat
At the MYO-MYA Lock-in held September 2nd to September 3rd Sr. Therese Maria gave an interactive presentation titled “Thirsty? Come to the Life-giving Well”  to forty young people at St. Joseph’s parish hall. The afternoon session included: an opening ice-breaker “balloon pop”, a PowerPoint, prayer from the psalms, reflective questions, singing, group sharing, trivia questions, prizes and Scripture activities.
Sr. Therese Maria reflects, “On the whole, I felt that the group responded positively to the presentation as they asked great questions, listened attentively and contributed well in the group sharing. The objective of the talk was to help young people to discover their deep need and thirst for God, and how they can quench their thirst for true love and communion by developing and nurturing an intimate friendship with Jesus, the eternal thirst-quencher! I gave them five tips to help them to do this in their daily lives. Here they are:
1. Pray every day and live in God loving presence each moment.
2. Read and live the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
3. Read the inspiring lives of the saints especially our Maronite saints.
4. Go to Divine Liturgy each Sunday and be present to the awesomeness of what is happening.
5. Go to Confession regularly and receive the gift of Jesus’ merciful love & forgiveness.”