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. 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.
 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