Skip to comments.Cardinal Sfeir receives key to America's 'Gateway to the West'
Posted on 07/01/2006 2:44:13 PM PDT by NYer
BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir expressed his gratitude at being presented with the key to America's "gateway to the West" at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis Thursday.
The prelate led a service at the Cathedral in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first Maronite bishopric in the US.
"Our meeting today confirms the Maronite Church is still active in this bright cathedral," he said. "I am glad to see your families' dreams growing and coming true through the generations."
Sfeir also expressed his happiness to see that recent Lebanese and Middle Eastern expatriates have found a country where they can practice their beliefs in freedom and peace.
The prelate thanked Archbishop Robert Chahine for having invited him to visit St. Louis and Mayor Francis Slay for offering him the key to the city.
The Maronite Bishops Council's issued its final official statement Friday, in which the Bishops' League praised the patriarch's efforts regarding the Council, saying the body is not only a Maronite institution, but one "for Lebanon."
Meanwhile, Zghorta MPs held a meeting at the home of Social Affairs Minister Nayla Mouawad to express their surprise regarding Former Minister Suleiman Franjieh's recent criticisms of Archbishop Youssef Bechara.
"We were surprised the most by the fact that the Maronite Church, represented by the secretary general of the Maronite Bishops Council, was accused of belonging to Qoreitem, which constitutes a dangerous precedent in political speeches," the MPs said in a statement.
After meeting Wednesday with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, Franjieh lashed out at Bechara, saying the archbishop had "crossed the line" by commenting on the recent debate regarding Romania's failure to invite President Emile Lahoud to the Francophone summit, saying: "The Francophone issue has nothing to do with the dignity of the president or the presidency."
Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, head of Lebanon's influential Maronite Catholic Church, is shown Thursday, June 29, 2006 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
I miss going to St. Raymond's for Wednesday lunch since I no longer work downtown. Mmmmmmmm...
To the Patriarch's immediate right (your left) is Bishop Gregory John Mansour and, if I am not mistaken, that's Fr. Nabil Mouannes from St. Ephrem's (Sandyeggo?) just behind the Cardinal and to the right, in the above photo.
The Maronite Catholic Church is blossoming in the diaspora and is now found on every continent. EWTN will be running a 3 part special on the Maronite Church later in July, dates and times to be announced. May God continue to bless the Patriarch and the Maronite Church!!
Are you Maronite?
Remember the saying, "go west young man? " Simply change it to : Go west Cardinal Sfeir. The Maronite branch of the Catholic church has grown in numbers and in strength over the years.
Immigration of Maronite faithful from the Middle East to the United States began during the latter part of the nineteenth century. When the faithful were able to obtain a priest, communities were established as parishes under the jurisdiction of the local Latin bishops.
Pope Paul VI, with the apostolic constitution Cum supremi of January 10, 1966, established the Maronite Apostolic Esarchate for the Maronite faithful of the United States. The Most Reverend Francis Mansour Zayek, a bishop since 1962, was appointed the first Exarch in a decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches dated January 27, 1966. The see city was Detroit, Michigan, with a cathedral under the patronage of Saint Maron. At that time, the Exarchate was assigned as suffragan to the Archdiocese of Detroit. On November 29, 1971, Pope Paul VI, with the apostolic constitution Quae spes, elevated the Exarchate to the status of an Eparchy, with the name of Eparchy of Saint Maron of Detroit.
With a decree from the Sacred Congregation of the Eastern Churches dated June 27, 1977, the see of the Eparchy of Saint Maron was transferred to Brooklyn, New York, with the cathedral under the patronage of Our Lady of Lebanon. The name of the Eparchy was modified to Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn.
On December 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II accorded the title of "Archbishop ad personam" to Bishop Zayek as a recognition of his personal contributions to the Catholic Church. With the apostolic constitution Omnium Catholicorum of March 12, 1994, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon was established with the cathedral at Los Angeles, California, under the patronage of Our Lady of Lebanon. The Most Reverend John George Chedid, Titular Bishop of Callinicum for the Maronites and Auxiliary of the Eparchy of Saint Maron, was appointed the first Eparchial Bishop. Bishop Chedid was enthroned by Archbishop Francis M. Zayek on June 24, 1994.
The territory of the newly-structured Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn is comprised of the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Maronites who do not reside within a convenient distance to a local Maronite Church are permitted to attend other Catholic churches, but, nevertheless, they retain, their membership in the Maronite Church.
The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn is a constitutive part of the Apostolic Maronite Patriarchal Church of Antioch and Archbishop Zayek is a member of the Patriarchal Synod of Bishops. However, in conformity with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, the Eparchy is under the direct jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff.
Recently, I had occasion to contact a mason to request a written estimate on the restoration of the facade of a former Methodist/Episcopal Church, destined to become a Maronite Catholic Church. After calling me with his estimate, I asked him to mail it to our pastor and began by giving him the name of our parish. When I reached the word 'Maronite' there was dead silence at the other end of the phone. Anticipating that he had never heard it before, I began to spell the word. He stopped me cold and said: "I know how to spell it. I am a Maronite Catholic but have never attended a Maronite Divine Liturgy in my entire life. I did not know there were any Maronite Churches in this area."
He is not alone. To assess the needs in the diaspora, the Patriarch has asked the bishops around the world to conduct a census. It matters not where someone practices their faith. He simply wishes to gain a better understanding of where his flock has wandered and, should they so desire, bring them home, by establishing additional churches around the world.
Should you fit the category, please fill out the census. If you know of others who are Maronite but practicing in RC parishes, please pass this information along to them. The purpose, as stated above, is not to mandate they return but to gain a better understanding of the flock and where it is practicing its faith.
The Maronite Church refuses to proselytize Roman Catholics or any other catholic traditions. In our parish, there are Roman, Melkite and Maronite Catholics who celebrate the Divine Litrugy each week.
USA MARONITE CENSUS - Official Website.
I am happy to participate in your unofficial survey. My grandparents both came here from Ireland, so I am quite certain they were always RC :) I would be quite comfortable celebrating the Divine Liturgy in a Maronite Church.
Like you, my 'great' grandparents arrived here from Ireland. My great grandfather, however, was French and served as a translator for Irish royalty (he spoke 7 languages and could read Sanskrit ... or so they tell me). I am the only family member to inherit his gift for languages and speak both French and Italian fluently, understand Spanish and can decipher certain words from Portugese.
Like you, I too am Roman Catholic but stumbled into a Maronite Church 2 years ago and never left. The depth of spirituality, combined with hearing the words of Consecration chanted in the language of our Lord, Aramaic, simply grabbed my heart and soul.
Following 9/11, the columnist, Rod Dreher, a Roman Catholic who attended Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn, wrote an article for National Review. In it he described the totally selfless actions of his pastor, Monsignor Ignace Sadek. Here is what he wrote:
"Monsignor Ignace Sadek, the elderly pastor of the Maronite cathedral near the Brooklyn waterfront, went to the promenade park overlooking lower Manhattan and prayed for absolution for the dying as the towers burned. When the first building crumbled, and the terrible cloud of smoke, debris, and incinerated human remains began its grim march across the harbor, Monsignor Sadek remained at his post praying. The falling ash turned him into a ghost. Still, he stayed as long as he could. This is a man who came through the civil war in Lebanon, and he doesnt run.
"People could see I was a priest," he told me later (he is my pastor). "They ran to me and knelt at my feet, and begged for absolution." Think of that: The people of this proud, defiantly secular city, driven to their knees in prayer, begging for mercy in a hot, gray fog. That is what purgatory must be like."
As a New Yorker, I have read nearly everything published on the events that transpired that day. This is the ONLY article that mentioned a catholic priest giving general absolution to the dieing. Since then, I have had the pleasure of personally meeting the good monsignor and can assure you that he is he most unassuming and gentlest of priests you could ever imagine. After being officially introduced, he planted a big kiss on my cheek, while assuring me of his prayers. Rod Dreher, now a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, was so struck by Msgr. Sadek's actions that he named his 2nd son after him. Since leaving Brooklyn for Dallas, Rod has been in search of a catholic parish with priests like the ones he came to know through the Maronite Church. So far, he has been unsuccessful. He and his family travel back to Brooklyn each year to visit family and celebrate the Maronite Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral.
That is a beautiful story.
Participation in survery done!
No, just someone who loves great food! ;-)