Weakened and Impoverished

Weakened and Impoverished, We Entered the Fourth Week of Displacement

Yet, there is nothing promising at all. The Iraqi government has not done anything to   regain the Christian towns back from the IS. Likewise, the Kurdish government, apart from allowing us to enter their province, has not offered any aid, financial or material, leaving us in the streets, and making the church take full responsibility of us all. Thanks to the Church of Iraq in Kurdistan, who opened their halls and centres to provide shelters. Yet, the number of refugees was so large that the Kurdish government had to face the stark reality and open their schools to provide additional shelter for refugees.
We hear a lot about world governments and organizations sending financial aid to Iraq, but the refugee gets the least –we do not know or understand why. People lost almost everything; they cannot even afford to buy milk or formula for their children. What saddens us most is that, only one month ago, these people were the most educated in the country and among those most likely to build a life for themselves and their family, and now they do not have enough money in their pockets to survive the day. Christians became accustomed to investing their money in businesses, shops, fields, buildings…etc, to build their communities. Leaving their towns meant leaving everything they had been working for all their lives. Yet, amidst losing everything, accepting their lost dignity, is the most difficult loss they may experience.  continue reading 



Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Rai - Washington DC

Divine Liturgy with His Eminence and Beatitude, Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light attended Divine Liturgy for the Christians of the Middle East on Thursday, September 11, 2014, at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Washington DC.

The Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence and Beatitude, Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai, our Maronite Patriarch, and concelebrating were Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and his predecessor, Cardinal Emeritus Theodore McCarrick, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Papal Nuncio to the United States, as well as other Catholic leaders and faithful.

Cardinal Rai was in Washington DC for the Conference on “Defending the Middle East Christians”, which was sponsored by an American NGO from September 9 to September 11. Following the close of the Conference, Cardinal Rai, along with other Eastern Catholic Patriarchs were granted an interview with the President of the United States to discuss the dire situation and persecution of the Christians in the Middle East.

Cardinal Rai mentioned in his homily during the Divine Liturgy that he, along with the other Patriarchs, were able to speak with Mr. Obama for approximately 40 minutes and apprise him of the awful situation that Christians now find themselves in the Middle East in the wake of the militancy of ISIS.

In celebrating Divine Liturgy, the Gospel reading was taken from St. John, “…unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12: 24).
Cardinal Rai paralleled this Gospel text with the situation of the Christians in the Middle East, that is, that out of their great sufferings, united with Christ on His Cross on Great Friday, there will come a Resurrection Sunday. The sufferings of our fellow Christians in the Middle East will bring new life, just like the grain of wheat. 

Liturgy was followed by a reception in the hall hosted by Chorbishop, Dominic Ashkar, Pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon, Washington DC. 


Evening Prayer & Supper - Dartmouth

On the Feast of the Exaltation of Our Lord’s Holy Cross, Sunday, September 14, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light hosted its monthly Ramsho and Supper at the Mother of Light Convent for priests and religious.

In attendance for our Ramsho and Supper were several priests from the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and several religious sisters from the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation. Also in attendance were Chorbishop Joseph Kaddo, Pastor of St. Anthony of the Desert Maronite Church, Fall River, Fr. Jack Morrison, Pastor of Our Lady of Purgatory Maronite Church, New Bedford, and devoted parishioner, Therese Abouzeid.


Relic of St. Anthony - Springfield

Veneration of the relic of St. Anthony of Padua in Springfield, MA!
By Natalie Salameh

On Saturday, September 6, 2014, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light witnessed the arrival and veneration of a relic of St. Anthony of Padua at our Maronite Parish of St. Anthony in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Prior to our journey to Springfield, the nature of the relic was unknown to us, although many people know that the famous relic of St. Anthony of Padua is in fact his incorrupt tongue. St. Anthony of Padua was a great preacher in his time (13th Century). We later learned that day, as we ourselves approached to venerate the relic, that the relic was in fact two pieces of the saint’s incorrupt cartilage of his larynx, which controlled the vibration of his vocal chords. These are the parts of the body used in speech and was discovered in recent times in 1981.

The relic of the great saint had come all the way from its native shrine in Padua, Italy from the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, and was welcomed in the parish by a great number of pilgrims. We, and many other pilgrims, accompanied the relic in procession from the middle of Island Pond Road to the altar of the Church. In the procession, the relic was held in the stole of His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour, accompanied by His Excellency, Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, and Fr. George Zina, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Maronite Church.

After the relic had arrived in the Church, Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Gregory Mansour, followed by the Litany of St. Anthony. During the day’s prayers and devotions, we carried your petitions to the feet of St. Anthony of Padua. The relic will remain in the Church at Springfield for 9 consecutive days from September 6th through the 14th, before returning to its resting place and shrine in Italy.  During these nine days the Maronites of Springfield, who dedicated their church and parish to St. Anthony, will conduct a very special novena in thanksgiving to him for two separate miracles that represent over a hundred years of his patronage and protection.

All are welcome to join the parish in their novena to St. Anthony of Padua, which is available on the EWTN website.

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!


First Profession of Vows- Boston

By Sister Therese Maria Touma

with Sr. Theresa and Sr. Cheryl

On Saturday August 30th we happily attended the first profession of two Pauline Sisters, Sr. Theresa and Sr. Cheryl at their Provincial house in Boston. The theme of their first Profession of vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience was: "For me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). In participating in the beautiful profession Liturgy and watching the sisters take their vows I was taken back to the joyful time in which I took my vows in December of 2013. It is by God’s grace that we freely respond to his Divine invitation of love and moreover deepen our baptismal promises through the total offering of our lives in the love and worship of God.

When the sisters professed their vows before the altar to their superior I recalled the Profession I made nearly two years ago:
First Vows 2013
I glorify and praise you, O Christ, your Father, and your living Holy Spirit for calling me to a vocation of greater perfection, and I joyfully lay down my life in your service and that of your Church in this Congregation. In the presence of Almighty God and before you, Mother Marla Marie, our superior, I Sister Therese Maria, humbly vow for one year to live the Gospel counsels of obedience, chastity, and poverty according to the Typicon of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Relying on the help of Mary, the Mother of God, our patron Saint Maron, and the support of this community, I promise with God's grace to observe my vows faithfully.

The vows of obedience, chastity and poverty which we take essentially capture our being totally given over to the praise and glory of our loving Father. A beautiful witness so needed in our world today. Jesus is the true joy and light of our lives. Have you considered giving your life in service to God and his people? As John Paul II has taught us, it is in giving of ourselves in love and service to others that we truly find ourselves and experiences the deepest fulfillment.

With the postulant director, two postulants and their family and friends.