Abouna's Message of the Month

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus our Lord,

I hope you are all doing fine with the grace of the Lord and having a blessed season of Lent. The month of March leads us through the Lenten Season that prepares us for Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. Many events fall in this month beginning with the principal feast day of the Maronite calendar: the feast day of Saint John Maron on March 2. He is the first patriarch- elect in the history of the Maronite Church at the end of the 7th Century AD.

The season of Lent began on Ash Monday, February 15, according to the Maronite Calendar. The faithful are asked to take this opportunity of the Season of Lent to focus on their spiritual life and enrich their faith and their souls by committing themselves in their daily prayers and the giving up of things and vices they are attached to, fasting and sharing of spare food with the needy. This season is a perfect occasion for all of us to examine our consciences and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation which is mandatory for all Catholics, Maronites and Roman, at least once a year. May we all pray that our families and parishioners will be blessed in this season of Lent. To help in this endeavor, Holy Family is celebrating the Stations of the Cross every Friday at 4 p.m. These celebrations are streamed live on Facebook and the church’s website.

Following the Stations of the Cross, we are hosting our popular Lenten dinners each Friday in March from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. This year our team was able to adapt to the situation with the take-out drive-through style by utilizing SignUpGenius for pre-ordering. So far it appears to be successful. All thanks go to the organizers and volunteers for their dedication and a special thank you to the participants from the MYO. In addition to the Lenten dinners, the MYO is waging a food drive campaign to assist the poor and needy. You can participate in this Lenten action by donating non-perishable food items or gift cards and placing them in the appropriate locations in the church narthex and entry way. Delivery of the food to the designated recipients will be on a regular basis.

During this Season of Lent, we are blessed with an abundantly rich session of faith enrichment via a series of Bible studies the first three Saturdays of March from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. It is open to everyone, parishioners and visitors alike, in-person or virtually through our Church Facebook and website with live interactive participation. The session is prepared by Subdeacon George Younis, an expert scholar on the Bible and Maronite and Catholic Spirituality.

Friday, March 19, is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph, the chosen father and Guardian of the Holy Family. On Thursday, March 25, we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. The month of March will conclude with the beginning of Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday, March 28, which will include a symbolic procession with the blessed palms.

Please remind your relatives and friends that they can access the church bulletin and announcements on the church website holyfamilymaronitechurch.org and also on Facebook, which is accessible from the website. Weekend liturgies continue to be live-streamed on Facebook for those who do not attend in person. We thank all who made this possible, and thank you for your continued generosity and support.

After a year of lockdown, we assure you that your physical attendance in Church is becoming increasingly safer and healthier due to the regular cleaning and sanitizing which takes place. I would like to remind you to be careful and make sure your children do not become accustomed to staying away from Church and its activities. Altar servers are allowed to serve, normally from the same family. The unstoppable MYO group continues to have its weekly Saturday evening gatherings in a safe manner. Faith Formation classes are still run on zoom and we thank the teachers and parents for their dedication and commitment. Our choir never stopped. Our technology system keeps improving. Our lay deacons never interrupted their participation. Our events crews and chairs kept the church activities going. Our office never took a break. The pandemic didn’t win the game in our community. We thank the Lord who kept our families alive, surviving these unprecedented times of uncertainty and sickness and suffering. We pray for the peace, safety and health of all people and nations. With your support and solidarity all this was made possible.

God bless you all,

Abouna Emmanuel Nakhle-Ghorr +

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