Family Catechesis – Jamaica Plain, MA

The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light facilitated an afternoon of catechesis on March 23
centered on the Passion of Jesus and the celebration of Passion Week in the Maronite Church.   Several catechists, parents and children attended the day sponsored by Our Lady of the Cedars Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston. 

While the children were learning about the true meaning of Great Lent and Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, Sr. Therese Maria was with the catechists and parents facilitating a guided meditation on the Gospel of the Prodigal Son.

The combined group came together for a discussion and catechesis on Passion Week according to the Maronite Church. Using Maronite iconography, Sr. Natalie Sayde walked through the different rituals of of each day during Passion Week, beginning with Hosanna Sunday, culminating with Great Friday of the Crucifixion and the Sunday of the Glorious Resurrection. Our Maronite liturgy offers different prayer services and rituals for each of these days, drawing the church into the richness and depth of the Paschal Mystery.

We all joined in praying the 14 Stations of the Cross with a guided meditation at each station and then attended the Saturday Vigil Liturgy with Monsignor Georges as celebrant.  The children beautifully served at the Liturgy.  The day concluded with a  potluck dinner and fellowship in the church hall.  


Our SPRING NEWS is here (click).  Please take a few minutes to read about the missionary efforts of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.  Lenten blessings to you and your loved ones.


MYO/MYA Regional Retreat – New Jersey

A MYO/MYA Regional Retreat  was held on March 16 at Our Lady Star of the East Church in Pleasantville, NJ.  The day was facilitated by the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light and a great team of volunteers who help the youth reflect on their call to holiness.
“Rejoice and Be Glad” was the theme, based on Pope Francis'  recent apostolic exhortation, reminding us all to seek holiness. We were blessed to have among us His Excellency, Bishop Gregory Mansour who was also one of the keynote speakers.
The retreat brought together 150 teens, young adults and chaperones from the following parishes: St. John Paul II, Sleepy Hollow, NY; Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, NYStSharbel, Somerset, NJ; Our Lady Star of the East, Pleasantville, NJ; and St. Maron, Philadelphia, PA.  We also had the good help of several pastors:  Fr. Kamil El-Choufeiti, Fr. Simon El-Hajj, and Fr. Vincent Farhat

Throughout the day the youth enjoyed several activities, prayerful communion with God, and much fun. We had two different presentations for the MYO and MYA. Bishop Gregory spoke to both groups at separate times on discernment and the gift and obstacles of holiness. Fr. Simon El-Hajj spoke to the MYA on needs, gods and power in relation to our call to holiness. Fr. Vincent Farhat spoke to the MYO on what holiness looks like in real life. He showed a moving video of a young Iraqi girl who had lost her home to ISIS, forgiving her enemies and praying for them. She was a beautiful example of holiness. The morning and afternoon sessions included small group discussions, which focused on hearing God’s voice amidst the many voices of today; on our relationship with God the Holy Spirit; and the process of discernment in sifting through negativity or toxicity in our lives 
In the afternoon, we had an hour of Eucharistic Adoration and Confession. We had priests stationed around the Church hearing confessions. It was uplifting to see these young people approach Jesus and adore Him at the foot of the Altar during the Exposition of the Sacred Mysteries.

The day concluded with Divine Liturgy, dinner and a dabke party.  We would like to thank FrKamil El-Choufeiti, Camellia Nammour and the parish and volunteers of Our Lady Star of the East Church for hosting this spiritual event and for their outstanding service and hospitality. 


Offering Lenten Reflections

Praying with Scripture was the topic offered to the St. Julie's Ladies Guild in Dartmouth MA on March 13.  The meeting of over 50 ladies appreciated Sister Marla Marie's presentation on how to pray with God's Word.  The women were introduced to Lectio Divina and tips on including scripture in their daily prayer.  

On Monday, March 11, Mother Marla Marie facilitated a morning of recollection for the ladies of St. Ann’s Maronite Church in Watervliet, New York.  The theme was Family Prayer. Sister Marla Marie walked the ladies through the importance of prayer in general, but then its significance in the family home, which is the “domestic Church.” Sister Marla Marie emphasized that prayer must start in the home. She recommended helpful tips such as declaring meal times a “no-phone zone”; setting up parameters and expectations for “family time” and being faithful to it; reviewing the Sunday Gospel; the rosary and other prayers. 


Is The Crucifixion a Wedding Celebration?

Is The Crucifixion a Wedding Celebration?

On the Great Friday of the Crucifixion, the Maronite Church commemorates the death of the Son of God on the cross by celebrating the rite of the Adoration of the Cross. When one, however, closely looks at what the Church actually proclaims, one surprisingly discovers a fascinating and profound theological notion and a powerful biblical expression of salvation that one does not typically associate with a crucifixion: a wedding celebration. The objective of this article is to show that the Maronite Church announces that on the cross, Christ betrothed the Church. He is the Bridegroom, and she his Bride: his crucifixion is his wedding celebration to the Church.
This nuptial understanding of the crucifixion is common to all the Syriac Churches, and it is based on the writings of the Syriac Church Fathers, like Jacob of Sarug, who, in turn, inherited it from Scriptures. In this short presentation, we will limit our exploration of this theological interpretation of the historical event of the crucifixion only to certain scriptural passages and the current English edition of the Qurbono, or the Book of Offering According to the Rite of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church (2012)—henceforth, BO. Hence, it is advisable to have a Bible and the Book of Offering at hand when reading these few lines. As we will see, the liturgical text explicitly portrays salvation as a wedding celebration between Christ and the Church occurring on the cross.
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