Welcome Patriarch Bechara Rai
The Maronite Catholic Church is led by an extraordinary man. Patriarch Bechara Peter Rai is a prayerful man, but does not hide behind prayer. He is a sincere man but is not shy in reaching out to others. He is “strong, loving and wise” as Saint Paul encourages his disciple Timothy to be. He is practical, intelligent, faithful and relies completely on God. He represents the best of what the Maronite Church, her prayer and way of life have to offer.
He is not a political man, nonetheless, he is unafraid of speaking the truth or to say what is not politically correct, as long as it is true and promotes “communion and love”. He has stood before the most powerful and has also been a friend to the lowly. He is as the Psalmist urges us to be: strong with the strong, meek with the humble, and astute with the crooked.
The Lebanon in which he lives is divided. It is not easy to describe these divisions as Christian/Muslim or Sunni/Shiite, the divisions seem more like political parties and/or personalities opposed to those who think differently. One might be able to describe it as “every man for himself”.
However, in the midst of this “winner takes all” mentality comes a father, a Patriarch, a man who prays and dreams of something greater.
I hope and pray that the Maronite Church throughout the world, as well as every citizen and friend of Lebanon will come to respect and love the wisdom of our Patriarch, and embrace his vision of a Maronite Church and a Lebanon in dialogue with others.
Please join me in welcoming His Beatitude, Bechara Peter Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.
+Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)