Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, New York, April 22, 2015
Monsignor Sadek has been an extra ordinary gift for the Church. He has excelled in all of his assignments, the Seminary in Lebanon, Pastor in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Pastor of the Cathedral Parish in Brooklyn, Priest in Residence at Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary and at our Parish in Washington, DC, interim Pastor when needed in Olean, Buffalo, Flint and lastly, Dayton. Wherever he served, he has left an indelible mark on the lives of those he served. I know of no other priest who is more loved and respected than our own Monsignor Sadek. He has brought dignity and distinction to the holy priesthood.
Was he a saint? He would be the first to say no; but did he love God and seek to serve him and his people? Yes. And for this we thank God for him. I hope and pray that by the time I reach his age, I will have had the same zeal, stamina, love for Christ and desire for holiness that he has had. He is eternally young, because of his love for Christ and His Church.
When I first came to Brooklyn as Bishop, one of the great blessings I experienced was to have Monsignor Sadek as Rector of the Cathedral. At every liturgical celebration with him I took away some lasting spiritual treasure. I will miss his homilies at Noon Liturgy. Each homily was like a mini-retreat, as he encouraged us to personal holiness. Who can forget his stories of the Holy Land (geography and culture) or of his favorite saints: Theresa the Little Flower, and Pius X (among others!)
In his farewell to the good people of Our Lady of Lebanon parish in Flint, Michigan, my hometown, he wrote this:
“Since my retirement in 2005, God gave me the joy of consecrating me as a traveling priest, filling my time with the consolation of preaching his name all over America. I visited a great number of parishes in both eparchies. I loved them all, but Our Lady of Lebanon in Flint, Michigan left in my heart an indelible mark.”
(I believe he would have said something like this also to our parish in Dayton, Ohio, who loved him so well, especially in the person of Bassam and Rema Zoghieb. And we may never forget how devoted his niece, Zmroud, was and is to him and we thank God for you.)
Then Monsignor concluded his letter to the Parish in Flint in this way:
“A farewell from an octogenarian person could be a real “Adieu,” “Adios,” in Latin “Ad Deum” which means “to God”, it means a definitive parting with no hope for “au revoir”, “see you again.” However, life is in the hands of God. We work as if we were to live forever, and we pray as if we were to die tomorrow. Anyhow, as long as I will be on earth, you will have my heart or otherwise you will have my intercessions. You must know the traditional prayer addressed to Mary, “Wa in kana jismaki baheedan minna” which means “even if your body is far from us, your prayers will accompany us.” This is what I am intending to do.”
Monsignor Sadek, thank you for your life of faithfulness, your priestly zeal for souls, and for your personal desire for holiness and goodness. Thank you for your promise of prayer and love. Thank you for being a happy, holy and humble priest, throughout your entire life, even and especially in your retirement, in which you took on several assignments for me, and Bishops Shaheen and Zaidan. You have left an indelible mark on all of us. May God grant you eternal rest. And as you used to say ever since 9/11 here at the Cathedral after every Divine Liturgy: “May God bless you, and may God bless America.”
Go in peace to Lebanon, our beloved Monsignor, to your final resting place in your beloved hometown of Zain, Lebanon. May the prayers of the Virgin Mary be with you.