Saint John Maron - California

Mission Outreach in Orange, CA
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light were invited by Father Tony Bakh, pastor of St. John Maron parish in Orange, CA to give a family and MYO retreat  from Friday evening October 18 until the following evening Saturday, October 19.
Mother Marla Marie on the Friday evening gave an interactive and visual presentation to the adults and youth on Mary, Fatima and the Rosary. The following day she continued with the adults on the theme of “Coming Home to God the Father” using the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Sister Therese Maria facilitated the MYO program for the weekend and began Friday evening with fun icebreakers and a pro-life movie October Baby. After the movie the teens had a fruitful discussion on key themes such as the sanctity and dignity of every human life beginning in the womb, the gift of good friendships vs. bad friendships, jealousy, living purity and deepening one’s prayer life with Mary as our model.
Saturday evening concluded with Divine Liturgy, adoration and confession.
Also during the week the Sisters visited the homebound and had an event with the MYA. 


Our Visit to Lebanon

Pilgrimage to the Valley of the Saints

During our two week stay in Lebanon we were blessed to visit Wadi Qannoubine or otherwise known as Valley of the Saints.  In particular, we went to pray at the shrines of Mar Elisha, Mar Antonious, Sadet Qannoubine, Mar Marina and the Patriarchs’ former residence which is now taken care of by the Antoine Sisters. Visitors are able to come  and reconnect with their Maronite roots and heritage. We thoroughly enjoyed walking in the valley surrounding these significant shrines in our Maronite history and spirituality. The photos highlight some of the shrines we visited.
Media Programs
As part of our mission outreach and exposure in Lebanon we visited Telelumiere and filmed about twenty five-minute programs on vocations, prayer, nurturing faith, scripture, the rosary, and our Maronite Servants’ mission and charism.

We were also interviewed by Christine Zataar for four episodes on various topics such as nurturing the faith in the family, a day in the life of a Maronite Servant, discerning a vocation and how to hear the call of God. In the interviews, we were asked to also share our individual vocation stories and give to witness to God’s love and mercy and on how we came to be Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.
We visited Father Fadi Tabet at Voice of Charity and recorded a program on vocations.  

Visits to the Shrines
We took a full day to visit and pray at the holy shrines of our beloved Maronite Saints. The highlights were to St. Charbel’s hermitage in Annaya, Our Lady of Illge in Mayfouk, St. Nemetallah’s tomb and Blessed Estephan Nehme’s incorrupt body in the monastery of Kfifan, and St. Rafka’s shrine. We also took the time to visit the home of Blessed Estephen Nehme in Lihfid. What a day of blessings and graces as we prayed for the intentions that were entrusted to us.


Ordinations in Lebanon

We were blessed to attend three ordinations during our two week visit to Lebanon. The first ordination was at Our Lady of Lebanon in Harrisa on Saturday September 28 at 4:00PM for Father Elias Abdallah Zaidan who was ordained to the Episcopacy as the Bishop for the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon. On the same day in the evening at 7:00PM we attended the Ordination of Father Elias Khalil in his hometown of Horjael.

The following day at 3:00PM we participated in the ordination of Father Antoine Kairouz in his hometown of Adonnis. Mother Marla Marie was asked to take up the gifts for the offering. His Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour was the main celebrant for both of these ordinations. Our best wishes and prayers for our new Bishop Elias and two new priests, Father Elias and Father Antoine for the Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn. May God bless your priestly ministries of love and service to our Maronite Church.


Our Pilgrimage to Rome

We attended the Papal Audience in the plaza of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and were fortunate to see Pope Francis close up as he stopped right in front of us in his pope-mobile. We also toured the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and the Scavi tour where we prayed for your intentions at the tomb of Saint Peter.
On Sunday September 22 we attended Divine Liturgy at Saint Maron Maronite  Church in Rome offered by His Beatitude Patriarch Beshara Rai. After the Liturgy we greeted His Beatitude and the Bishops, clergy and parishioners present.

Our day trip and guided tour to Assisi was awesome as we saw and reverenced the body of Saint Clare and visited the original church called the Portiuncula  located within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.  We also prayed at the tomb of Saint Francis in his Basilica in Assisi.