Skip to comments.Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church to Make Historic Stop Greater Boston Area July 12-14
Posted on 07/05/2006 9:30:57 AM PDT by NYer
LAWRENCE, Mass., July 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In his only stop in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, His Beatitude and Eminence Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, will pay an historic visit to St. Anthony's Maronite Church in Lawrence, MA July 12-14.
The visit, part of an approximately month long tour of Maronite religious communities in the United States, marks the first time that Cardinal Sfeir has visited St. Anthony church in Lawrence, MA, and is only the fourth time that a Maronite patriarch has journeyed to the United States.
Cardinal Sfeir will arrive at Lawrence Airport on the afternoon of July 12, and will celebrate a Pontifical Liturgy at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anthony's, 145 Amesbury Street, in Lawrence. Cardinal Sfeir will celebrate a second liturgy at 9 a.m. the next morning, followed by a press conference at 11 a.m. A third liturgy will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 14, prior to the Cardinal's departure.
As Patriarch, Cardinal Sfeir is head of the 12-15 million-member Maronite Catholic Church. There are approximately 200 million Eastern Catholics throughout the world. Cardinal Sfeir is the President of the Assembly of all Eastern Catholic Patriarchs.
Cardinal Sfeir also is a central figure in the Catholic Church. He offered the homily during Pope John Paul II's 25th anniversary Mass and presided over the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica honoring the deceased Vatican leader.
A proponent of peace in the Middle East, Cardinal Sfeir has been outspoken about social and political injustice even at the expense of his own personal safety. His Eminence is also the primary driving force behind a free and democratic Lebanon. He has persistently and convincingly impressed upon world leaders around the globe the value of a free, independent and democratic Lebanon, while characterizing Lebanon as an example of a country where different religions coexist. His campaign for Christian-Muslim harmony has earned him countless supporters within the Islamic community as he is viewed as a bridge with Christians and the West.
Cardinal Sfeir is considered one of the most important figures in the Middle East. U.S. diplomatic leaders routinely seek his counsel, and last year he was invited to the White House to meet with President George W. Bush.
"The parish of St. Anthony in Lawrence, MA is blessed and equally honored to receive His Eminence during his pastoral visit to the United States," said Monsignor Peter F. Azar, Pastor of St. Anthony. "Cardinal Sfeir has been a symbol of hope and a beacon of reason for all religions in the Middle East and in Lebanon," said His Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour. "The Cardinal's advocacy for a free and independent Lebanon has inspired millions of all corners of the world to support Lebanon's march toward freedom and democracy."
Schedule of Events:
Wednesday, July 12: 3 p.m. - Arrival at Lawrence Airport 7:30 p.m. -- Pontifical Divine Liturgy St. Anthony's Church, 145 Amesbury Street, Lawrence, MA Reception immediately following in the church hall
Thursday, July 13: 9 a.m. - Liturgy (St. Anthony's Church) 11 a.m. - Media Conference (St. Anthony's Church) 6 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Dinner Atkinson Country Club, 32 Country Club Drive, Atkinson, NH
Friday, July 14: 9 a.m. - Liturgy (St. Anthony's Church)
For Event Coverage Please Contact: Mr. George Kassas at 508-523-4432
About Cardinal Sfeir:
Cardinal Sfeir was elected Patriarch in 1986. Pope John Paul II elevated him to Cardinal in 1994. He is the 76th Patriarch of the Maronite Church and only the third Maronite Cardinal. Born May 15, 1920, Cardinal Sfeir was ordained a priest in 1950.
He completed philosophical and theological studies at St. Joseph University of Beirut and earned licentiates in philosophy and theology. He is the author of several books and publications in Arabic.
Cardinal Sfeir was a strong voice for reason and sanity in the latter years of the Lebanese conflict. At the present time, he has become the conscience of the country, pointing to the injustices that exist in the social and political spheres, and speaking up for the poor and disenfranchised. In his writings and sermons he has been presenting an agenda of how Lebanon is to achieve a future based on freedom and human rights.
About St. Anthony's:
St. Anthony's Maronite Catholic Cathedral Parish was formed by Rev. Gabriel Bistany to minister to the needs of the Maronite community in Lawrence in 1901. The community initially celebrated liturgies in the parochial hall of St. Mary's Church, before construction began on St. Anthony's own church in 1903. The current church structure was dedicated in 1974. Many of the St. Anthony's parishioners come from a major part of Massachusetts; an equally large number come from the southern part of New Hampshire. St. Anthony's is the largest parish and part of the Eparchy, or diocese, of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, NY. The Maronites are one of 22 churches that encompass the Catholic Church.
Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Butros Sfeir recently held talks with George W. Bush in Washington.
Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list
Eastern Catholic Ping List
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
To locate an Eastern Catholic Church in your community, follow the following link:
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Dear Cardinal Sfeir,
Welcome to the USA!
Is the parish's patron St. Anthony the Abbot, or St. Anthony of Padua? (I would think in an Eastern Rite church it would be the former.)
St. Anthony the Abbot. You can read the parish history (and how it chose this saint) here .
Thought this might be of interest to you. BTW - after leaving MA, the Patriarch will go to Brooklyn to celebrate a Pontifical liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral.
One of the more moving moments of the Funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II was when the Eastern Patriarchs gathered around his coffin and sang a beautiful and haunting chant.
It was truly moving and must have been quite a surprise for the majority of catholics who probably thought they were Orthodox. These were representatives all of the Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Melkite, Maronite, Byzantine, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Syro-Malabar, etc. Several days later, they reconvened inside the Vatican to celebrate one of the Novendiale Masses offered up for Pope JPII.
I was in Massachusetts this past weekend and visited a friend who has been working with pro-family groups the past three years, especially Focus on the Family (James Dobson's group). She explained to me that tomorrow, Wednesday, July 12th, the Mass. legislature is scheduled to vote on whether or not to put on the ballot in November 2008 a referendum on gay marriage.
Only 1/4 of the Mass. legislature has to vote for this referendum, which means only 50 legislators. BUT they have to repeat this legislative vote once more next year (2007). IF 1/4 of the legislators in Mass. vote YES -- to put the gay marriage issue to a vote of the people in 2008 -- and they vote YES two years in a row, then it will indeed go to the people of Massachusetts.
Of course, the people of Mass., by a large majority, want to protect the traditional definition of marriage as one man, one woman. So the gays of Mass. know they will lose if it is ever allowed to come before the people.
I ask all here on FreeRepublic to please pray (if you are so inclined) for the legislators of Massachusetts to vote YES for the people's referendum on Wednesday, July 12th.
Also, in case anybody here actually lives in Massachusetts, would you please, please call your state legislator and voice your approval of traditional marriage?
If there were no other reason, the most fundamental reason is the most important: Children cannot come into this world without a biological mother and father. They cannot function properly either, in the most healthy and productive way, without a loving mother and father. Of course, no law can force all heterosexual familes to be good for children, but the law should never work AGAINST public acknowledgement of the needs (and RIGHTS) of kids.
PLEASE, PLEASE do not give up on Massachusetts. There are many good, decent, God-loving people there who need to be supported. Also, don't descend to gay-bashing. Just uphold the positive, assert the rights and needs of the most vulnerable people in society (children), and stand firm. God is the author of the laws of Creation, and no human society can long thwart those laws and continue.
Thank you for the post and rest assured of my prayers.