Friday, April 17, 2020

Letter from Bishop Gregory - Catechists and Youth Advisor Enrichment

Dear Brother Priests, Deacons, Sub-deacons, Men & Women Religious, and Lay Faithful, 

On this Easter Thursday, I extend heartfelt gratitude for all the beautiful ministry you have done these past few weeks during this most difficult time. I received so many compliments about your ministries. It was a blessing to hear. So again, thank you!

By God’s grace an eparchial team of people have been working on ways to enhance our catechists, youth leaders and family life volunteers. What you will read about below is an optional, but highly recommended, program to strengthen our competent and faithful laity to better carry out their roles in our parishes.  

I am pleased to launch this eparchial initiative for our catechists and MYO youth advisors, called Franciscan at Home. It has long been a desire of mine to assist our laity in their service. Franciscan at Home is an excellent opportunity to continue to train and deepen our spiritual journey.    

This is a free online program of workshop tracks through the Catechetical Institute of Franciscan University, open to all of our parish volunteers. There are over 100 dioceses already partnering with Franciscan University and benefiting from the high-quality content offered.  

Catechists in our parish religious programs and our MYO youth advisors are invited to participate in these 12 one-hour workshops expertly filmed with a staff of professionals in the fields of catechesis and youth ministry. Also, two of these workshops will focus on our Maronite Tradition. The content is presented to inspire, educate, train, and enhance one’s knowledge and skills in presenting the Catholic faith.  

These workshops are available in the convenience of one’s own home according to one’s schedule and require some reading and writing.  Please see the attached flyers for the details of these programs. I have asked the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light to assist, and they are available by phone or email to help if there are any questions.  

It is my hope that as many as possible will join these programs, which will enhance one’s faith and in turn enhance the faith of the youth we serve. With parish meetings suspended for the time being, this might be a good opportunity for personal training. 

Our Office for Family and Pro-life has also created an excellent website, including seminars on Natural Family Planning. I highly encourage young people, engaged couples, and married couples with families, to strengthen their love for the sacred dignity of marriage and family life. Please also see the flyer attached.

Thank you for serving our youth and be assured of my prayers.  

+ Gregory

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Maronite Prayer Posture - Open Hands

Why do we extend our arms when praying the Our Father and at other times during the Maronite anaphora?

For those attending a Maronite Qorbono (Mass) for the first time you will notice that at various times the congregation together with the priest, extend their arms in prayer. This is sometimes referred to as the Orans posture. The posture is explicitly directed by the presently used Maronite Qorbono.  Read More

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Eucharistic Living

by Sr. Therese Maria Touma, MSCL

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.” (Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman)

Cultivating an ongoing reverence and love for the Eucharist is key if we seek to be people of Eucharistic living. Attending Divine Liturgy on Sunday (or daily if your schedule permits) and spending quiet time in adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament are two primary ways to encounter Jesus, the source of all love, healing and life. As God’s beloved sons and daughters, we have been given a tremendous gift in the Eucharist; Jesus’ precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. 

Recent polls have shown that close to 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. These statistics are alarming as the Eucharist is a central doctrine of our faith. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC #1324). If most people do not recognize or reverence Jesus in the Sacred Host, how will they recognize and reverence Jesus in their brothers and sisters? 

As Baptized Christian, we are called to be living hosts broken and shared for others. We are given a perfect example of this at the Last Supper, when Jesus gave us his Body and Blood and showed us how to humbly give of ourselves in service, and live the Eucharist. Jesus knelt down to wash the feet of His Apostles, and He told them to go and wash the feet of others. “I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples (John 13:34-45)

Eucharistic living is “going out of our comfort zones” to care for and be attentive to the needs of those suffering in our homes and parish communities; it is tangibly reaching out to the lonely, poor, sick, hopeless and the vulnerable. It is sowing words of peace, hope and forgiveness. It is carving out time to pray for those who need our prayers. It is seeking to love others and understand them with the compassionate heart of Christ. It is making a total gift of ourselves back to God so that our will can become one with His holy will. 

We ask you Mary “Mother of the Eucharist” to lead us closer to your Son Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We entrust to you our hearts. Give us the courage and generosity to give of ourselves without counting the cost. Arrange our hearts as you see fit and help us to be Love and credible witnesses of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2018

New Religious Education Year Coming Up!

Please see the links for the 2018 Catechetical Sunday kit below.  This should allow you ample to time to prepare for Catechetical Sunday which falls on September 16, this year.  The kit is self-explanatory and easy to use. Please print a copy for your parish file.  Also print a copy for your Religious Education Coordinator to start preparing for that worthy celebration. 

Should you need any assistance regarding the 2018 Catechetical Sunday Celebration or any help regarding the use of the kit, please do not hesitate to contact me,

Sincerely yours,

Msgr. Georges El-Khalli, Ph.D., Pastor
Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon Church
61 Rockwood Steet | Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
T: 617-522-0225 | F: 617-522-0194

Friday, April 20, 2018

Syriac Spirituality

Subject: Themes in Syriac Spirituality (Video) — Seely Beggiani – Maronite Seminary
Posted by Maronite Seminary

Maronite Clergy Enrichment Conference
Maronite Seminary
April 17, 2017

Early Syriac Theology by Seely Beggiani:

Early Syriac Theology with Special Reference to the Maronite Tradition  Available Now on

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March News

Carrying the Cross

I was really worried...Monsignor was announcing that he was being transferred after 34 years of ministry to our parish.  It was more devastating than I imagined - the elderly, the adults, and the children crying.  My thoughts raced to those in our close-knit parish that I knew had health issues--we hadn’t ordered the AED machine yet!  It’s funny how you think of things like that in time of crisis.   I also forgot about the Sunday School session between the liturgies.   Those poor teachers had to deal with the children’s questions: “Will we go with him to his church?”   “Who will marry us?”  “Who will lead our retreats?”  “Who will take care of our Festival?”  I was bombarded by the adults: “Why is he being punished?”  “Who will baptize my babies?”  “Who will bury me?” 

Monsignor has given his life for his flock for all of these years and has been a source of wisdom in our area.  He has been a “24-hour priest” when others have taken days off or gone on vacation.   Even when he has gone home to visit his mother in Lebanon, he checked on us frequently, giving instructions over the phone.  His primary focus has been the children and their education.  I am thankful for his long efforts in the editing and publishing of many of the Maronite formation books for our parishioners across the United States.  We as a parish are inconsolable.

Monsignor said that we must remember we are in the season of Lent. He said that Christ had to carry his cross, and just like Christ, we must now carry ours in times of transition. “But, as we carry this cross, we must never lose sight of the fact that the Holy Spirit is there to guide our path. The Holy Spirit has been guiding the church on Earth for 2,018 years. He’s not going to stop guiding us now. We just need to stay united and have faith that he will show us the way to move forward.”

When I check in with religion coordinators and pastors across our eparchy in August and September about the religious education programs, so many times they will tell me that they are in transition because the pastor has just been changed.  Many parishes have no religious education classes at all for their children.  This is a situation that is difficult and frightening, not only for the parents and children but their teachers and priests.  It is so easy to give up when there is change, but the children of the parish still have to be educated.  Priests cannot give up on their ministries.  Parents cannot give up on insisting that their children be educated in their Maronite faith and traditions. And, teachers cannot give up on their mission to guide our youth in the formation of their faith.   

That is why I implore you now to consider volunteering to help Fathers Vincent Farhat and George Hajj with an Intereparchial Religious Education Committee.  To those who have already volunteered, God bless you.  To those who are considering, hesitant, or don’t believe they are well-enough versed in our catechesis to add value, remember that Jesus told his disciples, “Do not worry about how or…what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  To continue our Maronite educational programs, rally to this cause with complete faith in the Holy Spirit.  If you are able and willing to help, please email me at and I will pass your names along to the priests