16 June 2010

In the Context of the Year for Priests

Pursuant to the decision of the Holy Synod regarding the Year for Priests, the animation committee organised a Day for Priests held in the Patriarchal Headquarters and Seminary at Rabweh on Wednesday, June 16 in the presence of His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III and bishops.

Some two hundred priests, both those in religious orders and married priests with their wives attended this day, notable for its brotherly and familial atmosphere.

After arriving and registering, everyone attended in the church a service at which hymns of Pentecost were sung. This was followed by a study of the lives and examples of the model priests, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé d'Ars and Blessed Father Beshara Abu Mrad, B.S.[1] His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III then gave a talk on the priestly life to the assembled clergy. After a break, a special programme called The joy of encounter, in which a number of speakers gave witness about their vocation and encounter with Christ, occupied the clergy for the rest of the morning.

The morning's meeting was rounded off by a communal lunch.

This event was part of a number of events in Syria and Lebanon connected with the Year for Priests.

  • For example, on 20 March, His Beatitude met with Melkite and Maronite bishops, priests and people of the parishes of Tyre and Sidon.
  • On 15 April, also in Rabweh, some thirty-six clergy, members of the Melkite religious orders of Lebanon met in the presence of His Beatitude to study the theme of the forthcoming Synod for the Middle East: Communion and Witness.
  • On 28 April, some seventy sisters, members of Melkite religious orders met in the presence of His Beatitude and Bishop Salim Ghazal to discuss their work in the context of the Year for Priests and the forthcoming Synod for the Middle East.
  • Then on 29 May under the auspices of the Assembly for Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon (APECL) there was a gathering of four hundred and fifty clergy (including the Catholic Patriarchs and some fifty bishops) at St. Paul's basilica, Harissa, Lebanon, at which His Beatitude spoke on Pauline themes connected with priestly life.
  • From 7-9 June, His Beatitude, with Archbishop Joseph Absi, led a retreat for the clergy of the Eparchy of Damascus in the Monastery of St. Thomas, Seidnaya.
V. C.

[1] For information on these two saintly priests, see H.B. Patriarch Gregorios III's Christmas Letter 2009, iv, v http://www.pgc-lb.org/english/News3_Christmas_letter_2009.html


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed him; Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man. But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men, he did not destroy their spirits. He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words, but not even by deeds, the noble ones. Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the latter: For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor. He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not in his authority. Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme, You gained crowns. 

Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.