I want to thank each of you for coming from the parish of Fall River, Massachuettes and surrounding parishes in the area. I commend Chorbishop Joseph Kaddo, as well as all the pastors who have come with their flock to celebrate the Eucharist and to be fed by a God who loves us and cares for us.
I would like to reflect for a moment with you on the family and the parish – two privileged places where God meets us:
The parish is the privileged place where we come to be fed by God’s Word and by the Sacrament of the Altar. Our family likewise, is a domestic church where God forms us in love and prepares us for our vocations to love, serve and rejoice in his many blessings.
Tonight you have gathered here from your homes and parishes to meet with your bishop and patriarch. Our common belonging in the Church is what makes the family, the parish and the eparchy so special in the life of our universal Catholic Church throughout the world. This communion which we share makes us one with Peter, the Pope of Rome, and the entire Church and is the cause of our great joy which we share in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I chose the words “communion and love” as my motto because I learned it first in my family, then in my parish, then in my monastery and eparchy, and then in the entire Church with Peter as Head.
Tonight I also want to reflect with you for a moment on the Church in Lebanon and the Middle East. Your solidarity with us there is so very important. Visit us often, register your marriages and family members with Project Roots of the Eparchy and keep your Lebanese citizenship. Reach out to assist those working with the poor and needy in Lebanon. This solidarity is so very important, it is a sign that you love us and is a form of “communion and love.”
It is this “communion and love” that I hope and pray for in Lebanon, the Middle East and all the world. It is so important for each of us to cherish a personal closeness to God and a personal fellowship and service in charity with others.
We can trust what Pope Benedict has said over and over again in his days in Madrid with hundreds of thousands of young people: that “God is our future.” Yes God is our future if only we look to Him for our daily bread in our homes, families, parishes and eparchy. Thus, we will find Him so very much alive in our hearts.
May God bless and keep all of you in His communion and love, and may the prayers of Mary, Mother of God and all the saints be with us and keep us close to each other.
(Reprinted with permission.)