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

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

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

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The devil will represent the Lord's fact to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: `Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out'; and `Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' - with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil - and I will give you rest.'

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ