By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh, MSCL
With 275 people in attendance from all seven Maronite parishes in Massachusetts, the evening’s program was filled with prayer and gratitude for God’s blessings, a delicious banquet buffet, and live entertainment.
We were blessed with the presence of both Maronite and Roman Catholic clergy, including the Daughters of St. Paul, who were a great means of support for Mother Marla Marie in beginning this foundation.
Chorbishop Joseph Kaddo gave the invocation. Msgr. James Root, Pastor of St. Anthony of the Desert, gave a short presentation on the early beginnings of the foundation and how he was a part of the clergy committee charged with overseeing the establishment of the Maronite Servants. Mother Marla Marie gave a heartfelt presentation on her experience as the foundress of the Maronite Servants, emphasizing God’s many blessings in the last 10 years. Msgr. Georges El-Khali, Pastor of Our Lady of the Cedars Church, finished the evening’s presentations by praising the work of the sisters, and how greatly the sisters are appreciated and needed in our Maronite eparchies.
The evening concluded with dancing and live entertainment by Mitchell Kaltsunas and his band giving us a nice rendition of Lebanese music. It was awesome to see so many people with a smile on their faces, many who had been there from the beginning supporting our foundation.
This hafle celebration could not have taken place without the help of many donors and benefactors, too many to be named here, who have overwhelmed us with their generosity in giving of their time, talents and treasures. We are most grateful to all who supported us.
Maronite Young Adult (MYA) Workshop 2018 – Washington D.C.
By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh
We had a successful National Maronite Young Adult (MYA) workshop in Washington, D.C. this past weekend on October 5 – 7. The theme of this year’s Workshop was Maronite Identity and Spirituality.
Father Tony Massad, Pastor of St. Rafka Church in Livonia, MI, and Sister Therese Maria, Eparchial Coordinator of the Maronite Young Adults and the MYA National Executive Board diligently worked together to offer an awesome weekend of spirituality, fun and fellowship for the 225 young adults who attended from across the country.
We were blessed to have His Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour, of the Eparchy of St. Maron, with us for the weekend. Bishop Gregory offered a presentation on the meaning of true love within the context of dating and marriage. One of the guest speakers was Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, former Rector of the Maronite Seminary in D.C.. On Friday evening, during Divine Liturgy, Chorbishop Beggiani explained each component of the Maronite Liturgy as it unfolded, which many found very enlightening. On Saturday, Chorbishop Beggiani offered a presentation on different aspects of the Maronite Tradition, drawing on the imagery of our early Syriac fathers. We also had a presentation from Kate Fowler of the Catholic Apostolate Center on the impact of social media on our everyday lives.
We had various breakout sessions and small group discussions throughout the day focusing on different topics such as prayer and discernment, marriage, mental health, dating and friendship, and social media.
It was a beautiful weekend of blessings and a dynamic program of prayer, presentations, confession, Liturgy and ice breakers.
On Saturday, September 29, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light offered a day of recollection for the parishioners of St. Joseph’s Maronite Church in Waterville, Maine. The focus of the retreat was the living treasure of our Maronite Divine Liturgy.
The morning opened with the Divine Liturgy, the greatest of all prayers, celebrated by Fr. James Doran, Pastor, which is really set the stage for our Day of Recollection on the greatest jewel of our Maronite Church.
Mother Marla Marie began our Day of Recollection by focusing on the Syriac music of our Maronite Liturgy, especially its hymns and imagery, whilst touching upon the works of St. Ephrem and the early Syriac Fathers. Mother Marla Marie explained the difference between Liturgical hymnody and religious music. Each retreat participant had the opportunity to reflect on a different hymn of the Maronite Liturgy.
Sr. Natalie Sayde facilitated the afternoon’s reflection on the prayer of the Hoosoyo in the Liturgy, also known in English as the “Prayer of Forgiveness”. Sr. Natalie explained the poetic richness of the four prayers that comprise the Hoosoyo – the Proemion, Sedro, Qolo and Etro, and also the Hoosoyo’s catechetical function in the Liturgy. Each of the retreat participants had the opportunity to reflect on a different Hoosoyo of the Liturgy and to share on how the Hoosoyo was touching them personally and what it was teaching them.
Mother Marla Marie spoke at both the Vigil Liturgy on Saturday and the morning’s Liturgy on Sunday about the apostolate of the Maronite Servants and the need for vocations in our Maronite Church.
A big thankyou to all retreat participants for their efforts and contribution on the day, especially to Fr. Doran for his warm welcome and hospitality. We truly felt at home.
For those interested in holding a similar retreat for their parishes, please contact the Maronite Servants of Christ: firstname.lastname@example.org.