Ordination of Father El-Khalli to Periodeut

 On Saturday, May 16, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light attended the ordination and elevation of Fr. Georges El-Khalli, pastor of Our Lady of the Cedars in Boston, to the rank of periodeut, with the title of reverend monsignor, by His Excellency, Bishop Gregory J. Mansour.

In attendance and concelebrating with Bishop Gregory was His Excellency, Bishop Nicholas Samra, the Melkite Bishop of America; Chorbishop Joseph F. Lahoud, retired pastor of Our Lady of the Cedars; Chorbishop Joseph Kaddo, pastor of St. Anthony of the Desert in Fall River; Msgr. Peter F. Azar, pastor of St. Anthony Church in Lawrence; Msgr. David George and a number of other clergy.

The priestly rank of periodeut is unique to the Eastern Catholic Churches, especially the Maronite Church, which still observes all nine ranks of priesthood corresponding to the nine choirs of angels. A periodeut is higher than an ordained priest, and one step below the rank of auxiliary bishop or chorbishop,  and shares in some responsibilities and duties of the bishop.

On the following day, Sunday May 17, we attended Divine Liturgy celebrated by Msgr. Georges as periodeut at Our Lady of the Cedars, Boston, in thanksgiving for his elevation and ordination. May God grant Msgr. Georges the grace and fortitude to continue to faithfully carry out his mission.


Our Lady of Elige

The Month of May is dedicated to Our Lady.

The depiction of Our Lady called Our Lady of Elige, is also known as Our Lady of the Maronites. It was discovered at the ancient Patriarchal Church of Elige, Lebanon and is dated around the tenth century. In the twentieth century restoration of this work, several layers of paint that were applied over the centuries, were carefully removed to reveal this icon depicting the Virgin Mother supporting on her lap, the Child of her womb, Jesus Christ. This marked an historic event in the history of the Syro-Maronite iconography as it shows a continuity of the tradition initiated by the famous Rabbula manuscript of the sixth Century.

The antiquity and authenticity of this icon seem to be supported and verified by the following elements:  the colors of Mary’s robes, deep blue, and of Christ’s tunic, deep purple. Blue, the color of the sky, signifies divinity, and purple, the color worn by kings, signifies royalty. The halos of both figures are a simple gold wide band typical of Syriac iconography and free of Byzantine influence, namely a cross in Christ’s halo and lettering for the “Mother of God” in Mary’s halo. The symbolic form of blessing of Jesus’ right hand, three fingers joined, signifies the Trinity, and the other two fingers of Mary’s right hand reiterate the duality of Christ’s natures: divine and human.

As is typical in Syriac icons, the Virgin Mother’s hair is completely covered by the headband worn in the Semitic culture of the day. The two star-like symbols, one on Mary’s head and the other on her shoulder, represent her enduring virginity before and after Christ’s birth.
The Eastern Syriac facial features of both figures reveal a delicate, gentle, and transparent divine presence.

Mother's Day celebrated with Spiritual Mothers

On Sunday, May 10, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light hosted its monthly Ramsho Prayer and Supper at the Mother of Light Convent joined by three consecrated religious from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and one from the Dominican Sisters of Hope.
Also pictured is "Flat Francis," an initiative of the Catholic Extension Society in preparation for the Papal Visit in September 2015.  


Catholic Extension - “Serving at the Margins”

We participated in the Catholic Extension Young Professionals of Boston panel discussion on April 30 at the Hilton.  Sr. Therese Maria was on the panel with two other young adults who work in some of the unique areas of the Catholic Church in the US. The three panelists were given an opportunity to tell their stories and how they are carrying out Pope Francis’ call to serve those at the margins, and also to take questions from the audience.

Sr. Therese Maria shared her experience of serving in the Eparchy of St. Maron, and how this often entails lots of travelling to reach our Maronite people. The audience was surprised to learn that our Eparchy actually comprises the entire eastern seaboard spanning 16 states. Sr. Therese Maria explained that this means that we, as Maronite consecrated religious, need to be quite missionary in spirit, serving our people when, where and as required.

Ms. Devon Kemp, a panelist, shared her experience of working in the mission dioceses of Amarillo and San Angelo, both in Texas, where she was serving in campus ministry.  Another panelist, Ms. Casey Bustamante, currently serves the Archdiocese of the Military, which includes bases and installations across the country and globally.

The night concluded with a networking reception of the young professionals including a number of our Maronite young adults from the parishes of Brockton and Boston who came to show their support and encouragement to Sr. Therese Maria.

First Holy Communion – Our Lady of Purgatory, New Bedford MA

First Holy Communion Liturgy was celebrated at Our Lady of Purgatory, New Bedford on May 3, and receiving were Daniel Yazbek, Rafael Yazbek, Jacob Dupre and Annica Dupre.  
Father Jack Morrison, pastor, offered the Liturgy and Sr. Therese Maria Touma was the catechist.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, both Fr. Jack and Sr. Therese Maria presented the children with a bible. Parish celebrations were held in the social hall which included the exchanging of gifts, and the cutting of cake.