Abouna's Message of the Month

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord,

After a nice summer break, where many of you vacationed at the cabin fishing, enjoying water sports, family gatherings and bonfires or by visiting family and relatives here in the states, a land of faith and mission and values, or the homeland of many of you, Lebanon, with what it symbolizes as the land of the cedars, six thousand years of history, a biblical land, the land visited and honored by the Lord Jesus’ visits and preaching, the land where Christianity first started to expand all over the world. After all these summer breaks and vacations we come together again to our church community.

The Church Youth overnight Summer Camp was held Thursday and Friday, August 10 and 11. Thank you to the MYO committee, led by John Corey and team for organizing this wonderful event. More than eighteen children, ages 8 to 17, participated in this church community-supported event. We thank all of the sponsors who donated time and/or funds to purchase the food or helped in cooking the meals or who were there to lead them in their canoeing, hiking or other outdoor events. Thank you to the parents who allowed their children to join in the fun. Thank you to everyone who worked to make this session successful! The kids enjoyed themselves the entire time whether it was setting up the tents, an evening around the bonfire, going to Lebanon Hills in Rosemount where they spent hours canoeing, hiking and swimming, which was then followed up with a session with Chorbishop Sharbel Maroun, Father Tony Salim and Deacon George Younes. The camp concluded with a Lebanese style dinner, including koussa and grape leaves, prepared by those energetic “camp crew? ladies, assisted by the children, for all participants.

We are glad to come back together again to continue our walk in the church dynamic mission of evangelization and preserving heritage. Evangelization is not only being sent to an unknown land in an unknown continent preaching the Gospel and feeding the poor. Evangelization can be practiced here in your house, within your family and within your church and community. You can do so by your participation in church activities or even by inviting a relative or friend to join in and volunteer in special events and activities. We remind everyone that Liturgy has been back to normal for some time now. If you are able to go shopping, run errands, or visit relatives and friends, you should not hesitate to resume attending Sunday liturgy and commit yourself to respect the day of the Lord for an hour a week, unless you are sick or elderly and attend remotely through Church Facebook and Website. Sometimes we fall into the temptation of having Church as the last of our priorities on Sunday, the Day of the Lord, and we discard giving just one hour of that day to the Lord, at least to thank Him for keeping us alive and healthy in these times of virus and sickness, and praise His Name and meditate on His words. Sometime we accept that sports or social activities or visits distract us from the most important hour of our faith, the Eucharist, where we meet with our Savior, Jesus. Hopefully we will not be His last priority when one day we are called from this world to the other eternal one.

The most marked event of the Holy Family year program and agenda is the Holy Family Annual Festival, which will be held this year Saturday September 9. We are grateful to our Festival team, led by Gloria Deeb-Reyes, for organizing the event with your support. As usual, it will include a traditional mezza and other delicious food for everyone. Even the Festival is a way of Evangelization, through food. It reminds us of the Lord Jesus and His mission that included Him feeding many people and partaking of many meals. Jesus will transform food from a reason to fight and kill for, to a reason of unity and life eternal.

Many people in today’s society still feel lonely and have no one to talk to, no friends, not even a spiritual guide. They feel happy to belong or to visit an active, dynamic community of Catholic faith such as Holy Family and to participate in our many activities and our beautiful and rich liturgy all year long. Our English mass goes deep into the history of the Church from the time of the Apostles. It still uses a few passages from the Aramaic Syriac language which was spoken by our Lord Jesus, by all of the Apostles and the people of His society. Don’t forget that the first of the four Gospels of the New Testament was written by the Evangelist Matthew in the Aramaic language. Evangelization is and can be practiced in every activity, in every event and every age.

During the month of September, the Faith Formation session for 2023-2024, will begin with on Wednesday September 13. It is a crucial and essential activity that the Church provides to all children of the parish, ages 6 to 12. Parents have the duty to commit their children to Faith Formation sessions, so they can be raised in the Catholic Maronite faith. Our team of teachers, led by Gary Schwery, commit themselves to teaching the children with patience and dedication. We look forward to having new teachers join the evangelizing crew for Faith Formation. The program includes preparations for First Holy Communion and the renewal of the Confirmation Sacrament for children who need it.

Many parents nowadays complain about children who lack Christian values and faith, and are taken in by risky ethical and social activities and behaviors. This reality should alarm the parents of today and force them to be extremely careful to stand more firmly for their faith and the faith of their children and make sure to transmit to the new generation the faith of their ancestors, their jeddoos and sittoos, the strong faith of the biblical mountains of the homeland.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again express our gratitude to all of you who continue to show your constant support and generosity to Holy Family with such love and attention. Your generosity is highly appreciated and makes a huge difference in our church life and mission. Thank you. One form of support is to invite you all to remember your Church in your will. Your generosity has pushed the church accounts closer to its expansion plans that create space for your children and your community. The plans include 2 classroom, 2 multi-person use toilets, 2 church offices and a 300 person capacity social hall. Any additional donation on top of your regular giving to the church can be directed and recognized, to the new expansion.

Friday, September 8, is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Liturgy will be celebrated Friday at 9:00 AM. May the Virgin Mary bless the annual Church festival.

September 13 will mark the 9th anniversary of my appointment as pastor of Holy Family Church (September 13, 2014) and the 37th anniversary of my ordination (September 13, 1986). I take this opportunity to ask for your prayers and support and I express my appreciation for you all for your support and care. On this occasion, I would also like to thank Bishop Elias Zaidan, for his trust and constant support to my service. I am also thankful to my Maronite order that extended this month, my service at Holy Family for three more years. Thank you immensely for your prayers for all the sick and suffering of the community and relatives, and for my mom, Marie-Therese. Your prayers are appreciated.

We thank again all of the families and individuals who continue to support our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. A massive campaign continues throughout the Maronite Eparchy. The campaign continues to support Caritas Lebanon, the major Catholic charity of Lebanon and the Middle East.

Wishing you a blessed month of September, assuring you that the church is glad to offer all spiritual assistance needed for all parishioners and friends.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Abouna Emmanuel Nakhle-Ghorr, Pastor +

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