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Dear Brother Priests, Deacons/Subdeacons, Religious Men and Women, Lay Faithful:
Monsignor Ignace Moawad Sadek passed into eternal life on April 14, 2015, while in the hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Monsignor was born to Sadek and Zmerod Hanna (Hokayem) Sadek on December 4, 1930 in Batroun, Lebanon. He was ordained on April 15, 1956 by His Excellency Bishop Antoine Khoreiche in Beirut, Lebanon.
He received degrees in Philosophy, Theology, French Literature and Physics and was fluent in five languages. From 1956 until 1988, he taught various subjects at three seminaries and three colleges in Lebanon and served as pastor of a parish; he served on the Saint Sharbel Canonization Committee; and was a Preacher of the Patriarchal Diocese in Lebanon.
Father Sadek was appointed Pastor of Saint Anthony Maronite Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and served from 1988 until 1997. He was elevated to Periodeut with the title of Monsignor in 1996.
He was named Rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral, Brooklyn, New York in 1997 and was appointed to the Eparchial Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors serving from 1997 until 2002. He also served on the Priestly Formation Board from 1994 until 1997.
When the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked on September 11, 2001, Monsignor Sadek rushed from the Cathedral to the Brooklyn Promenade where he saw nothing but clouds of smoke and debris caused by the falling towers. Many news articles described the image of him with hands raised, giving absolution to all those who lost their lives while also comforting the distraught people nearby. His trademark black suit and beret was covered with the white dust and debris that the wind carried across the East River to Brooklyn.
In relating Monsignor’s actions that day, one newspaper article was even entitled, “Amid the Chaos, A Sign of Order.” He was personally touched by the death of eight of the parishioners of the Cathedral for whom only memorial services could be performed since no bodies were recovered from the falling tower’s tragedy.
Although Monsignor Sadek retired in 2007, he assisted the Rector at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary, Washington, DC from 2007 until 2013 and then assisted both Eparchial Bishops with serving in special assignments in a variety of different parishes: Olean, Buffalo, Flint, and lastly Dayton where he served with much love and devotion.
Monsignor left behind his beloved brother Youssef, many nieces and nephews, as well as many relatives and friends. He is predeceased by a brother Amine and a sister Julia.
On behalf of Monsignor’s family, friends and many well loved former parishioners, I extend the sympathies and prayers of the entire Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn- clergy, religious and laity. May he rest in peace.
With prayerful best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Viewing and Funeral Liturgy
Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, 113 Remsen street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tuesday, April 21, 2015: Wake from 4pm – 8pm with a prayer service at 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 22, 2015: Wake from 4pm. Funeral Divine Liturgy at 7:30pm
I received this wonderful news from one of our parishioners who wanted to share her joy with others. Here is her story :
Good evening, Sayedna. I always hesitate in writing to you out of respect for your busy schedule. However, this Easter blessing is one that may be of assistance to you in counseling those who pray for lost souls. To fully appreciate its significance, you need to know the background information.
I am a love child; my mother turned 16 one month prior to my birth. Back then, a pregnant teen posed scandal for the family. Since abortion was illegal in the US, they offered to send her out of the country, but she was defiant (thank God!). She dropped out of Catholic school and lived with an aunt until the end of the pregnancy. I was born in Doctor’s Hospital in Manhattan. My mother was placed in a ward with other women in the same situation. All were encouraged to consider placing their children up for adoption. My mother remained defiant. At that time, NYS law mandated that I be placed in foster care until my mother could provide proof of employment in order to financially support me. Meanwhile, her family moved to a new neighborhood where they concocted a plausible explanation for a teen with a child.
One week after my birth, my mom and her step father stopped by a church in NYC to have me baptized before relinquishing me to foster care. After a serious employment search, she was hired by Scandinavian Airlines System and I was returned to her and my family, several months later. While working for SAS, she dated a man who proposed marriage. He had been raised by non practicing Lutherans who never had him baptized. My mother being Catholic, wanted to be married in the Catholic Church. I was 8 at the time. They met with the parish priest who insisted that my future father raise me in the Catholic faith. He agreed. Two years later, he formally adopted me.
Over the years, he would join us for mass at Christmas and Easter but never made any commitment. Meanwhile, I began to pray for him, asking our Lord that he be baptized. While working for IBM, one of his coworkers became a Baptist minister. My dad considered becoming a Baptist but realized that such a decision was predicated upon his admiration for the man and not the faith. My prayers continued.
Two weeks ago, following a funeral at St. Ann’s, my mother called to say my dad had asked to be baptized .. a Catholic! Sayedna, I broke down in tears. Beginning at age 10, I had prayed for this day and now, 56 years later, that prayer had been answered. My dad is 82 and, for now (he will have knee replacement surgery in May), confined to a wheelchair. Since he could not go to the church, the priest came to him. He met privately with my dad for about 30 minutes before the ceremony. My daughter and I were his witnesses. He received the 3 sacraments of initiation and chose Francis as his Confirmation name. The priest explained that he had been ordained 22 years ago and this was his first home baptism.
Please feel free to share this story with those who are beleaguered by what they perceive to be unanswered prayers. Yesterday, for the first time in 56 years, I sat down with my family and we discussed the Catholic faith, a topic that had previously been forbidden. I gave my dad several gifts – something like a Catholic “starters kit.” This included a youth handbook on the Catholic faith. Here is a photo from the big day. May this tremendous gift serve as an inspiration to those who have abandoned hope.
To His Beatitude Mar Aprem
Locum Tenens of the Assyrian Church of the East
Having learned with sadness of the death of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Your Beatitude, to the Bishops, clergy and all the faithful and to assure you of the spiritual closeness of all Catholics at this time. The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times. His Holiness Mar Dinkha suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution. I recall how we spoke of this at length during the recent visit of His Holiness to Rome. I give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for the enduring commitment of His Holiness to improving relations among Christians and in particular between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. May the Lord receive him into his kingdom and grant him eternal rest, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and inspiration to us all.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
This is how to live the Christian life, watch and see:
+ Gregory Mansour
Business or Mission?
The Webster Dictionary gives these two definitions:
Business: “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money”
Mission: “a task or job that someone is given to do”
It is important to know the difference between “business” and “mission”. A mission is something to which it is worth giving one’s complete self. A business is something for which one works for gain. In a mission one invests freely and joyfully and can be noble, and seen as an end in itself.
Business or Mission?
Natural Family Planning
Thousands of free pregnancy centers
NaPro Natural Procreative Medicine
Sacrificial and passionate love between spouses
Love for others, especially the poor and vulnerable, especially children
In all missions there is no gain except love, happiness and respect. In business someone stands to profit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Are you wondering about “Fifty Shades of Grey” ? On this there is no “grey” area, it is just plain and simply porn. See the website below for more information :
There is a much better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and to honor the invitation to find true and sincere romantic love. May God give us all the grace not to spend time and money on that which leads us nowhere good, but rather help us to embrace that which is noble and beautiful.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On February 9, 2010, at the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Saint Maron, 1600 years after his death, our Patriarch, His Eminence and Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, wrote a beautiful message, his 25th Pastoral, entitled Saint Maron, What it means to be Maronite, and the Mission of Lebanon. (for the entire Pastoral see www.stmaron.org) One could spend hours to mine the treasures of this letter which forges a profound vision for Maronites throughout the world.
The Patriarch writes in the beginning of this Pastoral:
Our Church was not built after a name of a See or Apostle, but rather took its identity from the radiance of a man and a monastery: the Maronite Church, a Church of asceticism and adoration attached from the beginning to a solitary man, not a man of rank or a Church leader.
What a powerful testimony to the truth that one person can make a difference if that person follows Christ! The Patriarch then writes about the heroes of faith, Sharbel, Rafka, Hardini, etc., and summarizes that the Maronite Church returns to its essence each and every time one of her sons or daughters strives for holiness. He then quotes Bishop Hamid Mourani who wrote about the meaning of our lives of holiness when lived together in community with one another:
The faith lived out by the hermit Maron became the inner strength of a people’s history. “As for the successive migrations from Syria (in the 5-10th centuries), the Maronites gave them one meaning, that is, giving up land, wealth and comfort in Syria moving toward a poor land where anxiety and austerity prevail, so they could preserve their faith and remain attached to their freedom … This event is not a simple historical fact among others… it is the very beginning of a new history, the history of the Maronites.”
This can also be said of the migration of Maronites throughout the world. They left everything worldly, as the late Archbishop Francis M. Zayek would always tell us, to possess one thing, the freedom to live, to worship and to raise their families in the faith which they inherited, and to pass on that faith to others.
Later in the Pastoral the Patriarch moves his thoughts to Lebanon by quoting the late Father Michel Hayek who wrote:
“Lebanon has no right to exist haphazardly; she either has a mission for humanity in the East and the world or she ceases to exist.” This is her historical calling, and that is the meaning of what his Holiness Pope John Paul II described when he said that “Lebanon is more than a country, it is a mission”.
The Patriarch reminds us that Christian life itself is not haphazard, it has a mission. There is meaning to life! The family has a mission, the Church has a mission, Lebanon has a mission! The Patriarch was trying to teach us something so very profound: when we strive for holiness, something beautiful happens in our family, in our Church and in our society. We become what God desires.
This same wisdom shows forth in the constant theme of Pope Benedict who so often repeated: “open your lives to God, you lose nothing and gain everything!”
May we continue to strive for holiness as did the saints, for each time we do, the Maronite Church, in fact the entire Church, returns to Her very essence: a missionary Church, a field hospital as Pope Francis describes us.
Happy Feast of Saint Maron!
+Gregory John Mansour
Official Prayer for the Jubilee of Saint Maron
you called your chosen one, Saint Maron, to the monastic life, perfected him in divine virtues, and guided him along the difficult road to the heavenly kingdom.
During this jubilee year, commemorating 1600 years since the death of your chosen one, Saint Maron, when he was called to the house of your heavenly Father;
We ask you, through his intercession, to immerse us in your love that we may walk in your path, heed your commandments, and follow in his footsteps.
May his holy example resonate throughout our lives.
With your love, may we achieve that final destination reached by our father, Saint Maron, and carry your Gospel throughout the world.
Through his intercession, may we attain the glory of the resurrection and everlasting life in you.
Glory and thanks are due to you, to your blessed Father, and to your living Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
The Homily of His Eminence Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley at the Vigil Mass for March for Life, Washington. D.C., January 21, 2015. http://www.thebostonpilot.com/opinion/article.asp?ID=172948
Please see the homily of His Eminence Cardinal Wuerl. It says it all
Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the lord
HOMILY by His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington
Recently I reviewed some startling photos. I was struck by the pictures of the small Christian community made up of a number of families including elders and infants all huddled in relative darkness and in imposed silence as they tried to celebrate Christmas – Nativity – the birth of our Lord.
What struck me was the fear that was necessarily a part of this clandestine Liturgy and what inspired me was the defiance of those who while frightened of the consequences were determined to hold on to and even celebrate their faith.
The photos were of a small persecuted Christian community in Syria but it could just as well have been almost anywhere else in the Middle East.
What a contrast to our celebration today in this magnificent cathedral full of light, heat, joy and freedom.
The liturgy speaks of light, a light that is come among us, the glory of the Lord that shines upon us. Just as the star of Bethlehem led the wise men, symbols of the Gentiles, to Christ so we are reminded every Epiphany that we are also to be a light to those around us, a light reflecting Christ by reflecting our discipleship – our commitment to him.
Today I would like to reflect with you not just on our challenge and obligation to be a reflection of Christ’s light in the world, but also our obligation to pray for those who are struggling to keep that light of Christian faith alive, even as attempts are made to see that it is extinguished in their lives.
We take for granted not only the great gift of faith that enables us to profess our discipleship in Jesus Christ, our acceptance of him, his Gospel and his way, but also the great gift of freedom that allows us to profess our faith, to live our faith, to practice our faith openly and freely, and to have recourse to the courts when we feel that our freedom is being compromised.
Today I ask you to reflect with me and pray for those who see the light of their Christian faith being challenged and in some instances violently extinguished.
In the fall of last year, September 2014, an ecumenical summit of Christian leaders, representatives of Churches and faith communities from all over the Middle East, the Holy Land, Iraq and Syria met here in Washington. Organized by an association of scholars and dignitaries called “In Defense of Christians,” this Inaugural Summit was to call attention to the gradual eradication of Christianity in the very land where it all began.
Representatives from the Holy See, the Maronite, Melkite and Syriac Catholic patriarchs, as well as representatives of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Chaldean Church and the Patriarchates of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and many others gathered to point out the plight of the ancient Christian communities in the Middle East.
Here it was noted that institutional oppression from governments and the violence of organizations such as ISIS, the self-proclaimed “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” have dramatically reduced the number of Christians in all of these lands, made them second class citizens, obliged them to forced conversion, and exhibited a violence manifested in beheadings and mass executions.
If it were not for the immediacy of the presence of these atrocities one would be tempted to think that reference was being made to something of a thousand years ago, when in various parts of the world some religious faiths were spread by the sword. But my brothers and sisters, we are speaking about today.
We must pray for and speak up on behalf of those whose light that began to shine at Epiphany is being forcefully but really and truly extinguished.
But in other parts of the world, the light of faith is also challenged as the ever present darkness that the light of Christ came to dispel threatens to encroach. In Nigeria we hear of Christian children being kidnapped by the classroom full and forced to reject their faith and accept Islam.
A recent report from the Diocese of Maiduguri in troubled Borno State in northeastern Nigeria pointed out how Catholic Nigerians displaced by violence and the threat of suicide bomb attacks by Islamist insurgents celebrated Christmas not knowing when they might return home. A veil of darkness descends over whole communities that once were alive in the light of Christian faith.
In Sudan, in West Africa, in parts of India regularly are Christian Churches and homes burned in the hope of putting out the light of faith.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India recently criticized the forced conversions of Christians to Hinduism. Some Hindu leaders have said that India is a Hindu nation and thus forced conversion of Christians is justified.
In ancient Christian communities that have for centuries lived side by side with their neighbors who come from a variety of faith commitments the darkness of violence intrudes.
Pope Francis, in his Message for the World Day of Peace, which we observed last Thursday, speaks also of the “Many people [who] are kidnapped in order to be sold, enlisted as combatants, or sexually exploited, while others are forced to emigrate, leaving everything behind: their country, home, property, and even members of their family.”
For all of these we need to offer our prayers, our support and on behalf of whom we need our voices.
Brothers and sisters, Epiphany is the great celebration of light, Christ the light come into the world. We are called to be children of the light, to walk in the light, to live in the brightness of that light and to make every effort to reflect it and even share it.
Would that we could simply rejoice today in the great blessing of Epiphany, but as our Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminds us, to ignore the suffering and evil around us, to turn away from the efforts to envelope our brothers and sisters in darkness – to extinguish the light of faith is to act in a way not worthy of our calling.
This year when we rejoice in the light of faith, let us also remember that our brothers and sisters in various parts of the world are paying an extremely high price to keep that candle of faith lit. And let us simply remind ourselves of the words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah that were part of the first reading today: “darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the people,” “upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory” so that nations might “walk by your light.”
As children of the light, let us never forget our brothers and sisters who attempt to walk in the light and who suffer so grievously for their faith. In this festival of the manifestation of our Lord, let us do our part, remembering our brothers and sisters, praying for them and standing in solidarity with them by speaking out whenever we can, reminding ourselves, our friends, our neighbors – everyone – that what they are suffering is simply wrong and that what they are enduring is an unjust violence.
Perhaps our faith, our prayers, and our words might help to lift a little of the darkness that covers these atrocities “so that nations might ‘walk by the light.’”
|Eparchy of Saint Maron
109 Remsen Street
Brooklyn NY 1201