Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bulletin January 3-24, 2016


During this most Blessed and Festive time of the Christmas Season, I offer my sincere thanks to all of the many parishioners and friends of Saint Raymond Maronite Cathedral who kindly presented me with gifts and prayerful remembrances. I am truly grateful to be the Rector of Saint Raymond Cathedral Parish and to be of service to each of you throughout the year. While I could never repay you for your kindness to me, be assured that each of you and your intentions are remembered by me at each Liturgy and during my daily Rosary.

As we close out the year 2015, let us thank Our Lord for the Faith we were able to call upon this past year. Babies were baptized and confirmed. Children received their First Holy Communion and First Confession. Couples were married before the Altar of Almighty God, pledging their Love and Life to one another. The sick were visited while they were in hospitals. Shut-ins were visited in their homes. And, with great sadness, many of our parishioners, your family members, were called to their Eternal Reward in Heaven –many   after great suffering, and some in a very sudden manner. In all of these events, the parish family of Saint Raymond Cathedral has called upon our Maronite Catholic Faith to rejoice and to mourn. I take special pride in thanking those who assist me in the sacramental life of our parish family, Bishop Elias A. Zaidan, Bishop-Emeritus Robert J. Shaheen, Deacon Doctor Louis Peters, Subdeacon Sir George Simon, as well as our Subdeacon candidates.

We are a parish family. A family is made of many different parts. Our parish family is blessed to have a Parish Council, a Finance Council, a Ladies Society, a Men’s Society, Fall Festival Committee, Heritage Classes, a wonderful choir with musicians, ushers, readers, altar servers, and a very dedicated group of Kitchen Workers who work tirelessly to prepare our Wednesday Lunch. Let us realize the blessings we have received in 2015 from all “parts” of our parish family and take the time to pause and thank Almighty God.

As we approach 2016, let us be resolute in our desire to make Saint Raymond Cathedral Parish the very best example of Faith, Hope, and Love. I am proud to be serving you not just as your Rector, but as your Priest – a priest who is called to serve you in the good times of your life and – a priest who is called to serve you in the difficult times, as well. I thank you, once again, for your gifts and your prayers and I, with you, look forward to a new year filled with many blessings for your family, and the Parish Family of Saint Raymond Cathedral.

 Chorbishop Moussa Joseph, Rector
Epiphany of Our Lord
On Wednesday January 6th is the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Eastern Churches this feast is known by two names: Epiphany and Theophany. The Greek word, ”Epiphany” means “a manifestation” or “an apparition” and the word, “Theophany, “ an appearance of God.” On this day we celebrate the appearance or manifestation of Christ among us as God’s Son.
The feast of Epiphany was first celebrated in the East around the third century and eventually was adopted by the Western Church. In the Eastern Churches the celebration of the Epiphany originally centered on both the Birth of our Lord and his baptism. When the later Western feast of Christmas was introduced into the East, Christmas became the feast of the Birth of our Lord and the Epiphany, that of his baptism.
The feast of the Epiphany is intimately connected with the mystery of our Lord’s birth. The Child who was born for us and the Son who was given to us is manifested before us to be the Son of the Most High. Christ begins his public life with his baptism by John in the Jordan River. At His baptism, Christ is seen as the fulfillment of John’s preaching: he is the Messiah and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Father and the Holy Spirit are witnesses to Christ for he is the beloved Son of the Father and upon him the Spirit rests. Thus at the baptism of the Lord we have not only an epiphany or manifestation of Christ as God’s Son, but also a theophany or manifestation of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The feast of the Epiphany reminds us not only of the baptism of Christ, but also of our own baptism. St. Ephrem in his Hymn on Epiphany says: “...our blessed Lord came to be baptized with sinners and   because of his glory the heavens were opened. The One who purifies all creatures desiring to cleanse them, went into the waters and sanctified them for our baptism.” It is for this reason that we bless water on this day. Originally, the mystery of baptism was celebrated on this feast and the waters blessed were those of baptism.
On Wednesday January 6th, we celebrate the manifestation or epiphany of the Trinity at the baptism of Christ as well as the manifestation of the glory of God in the person of the Lord come into this world, that is to say, the manifestation of Christ, the Word of God, among us. Let us then call to mind the grace of God who has appeared for the salvation of all, and thank him for the baptism through which we have been begotten in the Spirit and through which we have put on Christ and become children of the Father.

Open House at the Residence of Bishop Shaheen
3900 Blow Street
Sunday January 3, 2016
2:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M.
This is an opportunity to visit the home of our Retired Bishop and enjoy some Holiday Cheer
Clergy Retreat
Chorbishop Moussa will be away for the Annual Clergy Retreat from Monday January 11th-Friday January 15th. The rectory office will remain open. For any need you may call the office and Gina will relay the message to him.
Ladies Society Meeting
New Year...New Officers…. and New Members….If you are interested in becoming more involved, but don’t know how : Join the Ladies Society. 
 Due to conflicts in January, there will be no Ladies meeting until Tuesday February 2nd at 7pm in the Lebanon room
Men’s Society
The next Men’s Society meeting will be held on Thursday January 7th at 6:30 pm in the Lebanon room
Kitchen Scoop
Making Tabouli Monday January 4th @ 8 am
Rolling Cabbage Rolls or Grape Leaves Mondays @ 8 am
Making Kibbi Aras on Tuesdays @ 8 am
Preparing to serve lunch on Wednesdays @ 8 am-11:00am
Serving Wednesday Luncheon @ 11am-2pm
Beginning Wednesday February 3rd, the lunch line will be open until 1:30 pm and carry-outs will remain open until 2:00pm.
Membership Committee
We have established a membership team. The 3 focus areas of the team are: a) welcome new families at Mass b) outreach to inactive members and c) identify people who recently stopped coming to church and see if everything is ok. Since people have very busy schedules, we do weekly conference calls on Tuesdays at 7pm. Simply dial 888-320-3585 and enter in the code 28928762. We would love your help on the team. It’s very easy. Come on and join the team and help build the future of our church! If you can’t attend but want emails contact the Rectory or email Shawn Nesser at
Next Conference Call/Skype Meeting: Tuesday  January 5, 2016 from 5:00pm-5:30pm
The Unlikely Evangelist:
Our church is changing. We are becoming an Evangelizing Catholic Church. We are challenging each of you with remembering why you go to mass at Saint Raymond’s. Evangelizing doesn’t have to be difficult. Do you have a fellow Maronite or Roman Catholic who you notice isn’t going to mass anymore? Simply reach out and say we would love to have them back. Be non-judgmental! It can be very painful when a loved one is separated from the faith. However, many of the saints and other holy men and women felt that same pain. The Holy Spirit endowed them with the wisdom to reach out with the truth of the Catholic faith in a respectful, appealing, and effective manner. There are resources available to aid in your evangelization based on the wisdom of these holy people. This wisdom can change negative attitudes toward the Catholic Church or help bring someone out of indifference and into the light of truth. Pray, pray, pray for the souls of those who are away, and share your faith“with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15) with those you know, whether through your personal witness, your invitation to Mass, or through the gift of a great Catholic book or CD. Remember that God wants your loved ones home even more than you do! Remain trusting in His love for them and in the Holy Spirit to guide you to serve them as best you can.




Friday, December 18, 2015

Bulletin December 20, 2015-January 3, 2016



We find that there are two versions of the genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament. One is in Matthew (1:1-17) and another is in Luke (3:23-38). The basic aim of any such list of descendants in the scriptures, is the connection of each era to God’s progressive plan of salvation which reaches its fulfillment in Christ.

The genealogy of Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises God made to Abraham and David. One notes that there are four women, perhaps gentiles, in the list. The inclusion of these women may serve to indicate that Jesus came to save all mankind and not just the Jews (Mt. 28:19). David, a sinner guilty of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11:6), is also included in the list, thus indicating that Jesus, who was without sin, was fully immersed in the sinfulness of humanity.

The genealogy of Luke’s gospel is even more obvious in indicating the universal mission of Jesus. He goes back from Jesus, to Abraham, and all the way back to Adam, the Son of God; thus he shows Jesus as the New Adam, who begets a new humanity.

The two genealogies are quite diverse in the personages included. In fact, they agree only on two names from David to Joseph. Matthew’s royal lineage supports his concept of   messianic fulfillment while Luke may have been more authentic in tracing the line through Nathan. In any case, one finds that the theological purpose of the genealogies  supercedes any consideration for factual accuracy. The intention of the lists is to         demonstrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of all that had been prophecied in the Old      Testament. The covenant that the Lord established with David will stand forever: “ The Lord says that his covenant with David stands firm and he will make his posterity endure forever and his throne as the days of heaven” (Ps.89:29-30).

The genealogies call us to trust in the salvific plan of God: all will be brought to fulfillment by the Lord in his own time and in his own way. In spite of difficulties, we are called to trust in the promises of the Lord. Jesus himself, the Son of the Father promised, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not” (Luke21:33).

Sacrament of Reconciliation
The best spiritual way  to prepare ourselves to receive the Light of Our Savior on Christmas Day and make of our hearts a new manger for Jesus to come and dwell is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) prior to Christmas.
Confessions will be available here at St. Raymond’s
Thursday December 24: 3:00pm-4:30pm and 8:30pm-9:30pm
Friday December 25: 8:30am-9:30am
Please make an effort to be ready for Christmas Spiritually!
Open House at the Residence of Bishop Shaheen
3900 Blow Street
Sunday January 3, 2016
2:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M.
This is an opportunity to visit the home of our Retired Bishop and enjoy some Holiday Cheer
Kitchen’s Weekly Scoop
The kitchen will be closed the week of December 20th and the week of December 27th. The kitchen will re-open Monday January 4th and will be serving lunch Wednesday January 6th. Special thanks to all the   dedicated kitchen volunteers who come each week throughout the year!
Christmas Novena
On Saturday December 19th , the Novena will be celebrated after 5:00 P.M. liturgy
On Sunday December 20th, the Novena will be celebrated after 10:00 A.M.  liturgy
Monday December 21st- Wednesday December 23rd  the Novena will be  celebrated at 7:00 P.M.
Christmas Liturgies Schedule

On Thursday December 24th, liturgies for Christmas will be celebrated at 5:00 P.M. and
10:00 P.M.
Following the 10:00 P.M. liturgy all are invited to the Cedars Hall for coffee, refreshments,
and greetings.
On Friday December 25th, liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. and the Hall will be closed
on Christmas Day

Membership Team Meeting
The next meeting via Skype or Conference Call will be Tuesday December 22nd at 5pm.
All our welcome and encouraged to participate!  
 Please follow the links below:                                        
Via Phone 314-994-1870 or 888-320-3585                    
  Conference ID: 28928762
Coffee Hour: The hall will be CLOSED Friday December 25th until January 10th.
New Year’s Liturgies
Thursday December 31st: 7pm
Friday January 1st: 10am
Faith and Heritage Classes
There will be no classes on Sunday December 20th, December 27th, and January 3rd. Classes will resume on Sunday January 10th
Bishop Elias Zaidan issues new
Regulations for Christmas Gifts for Priests in the  Eparchy of Our Lady of
Lebanon of  Los Angeles
Effective immediately, Bishop Elias Zaidan has issued new regulations regarding Christmas Gifts for Priests. In the packet of envelopes issued to each parishioner/family, there is a green envelope denoting a special Christmas Gift for the Parish Priest. At the Christmas Liturgies, a second collection –announced in advance- will be taken for the special green envelopes or cash gifts. The first collection has always been for the benefit of the Parish. Bishop Zaidan wishes to thank the priests for their service to the Church, and the parishioners for their appreciation of the value of the priests who serve them.
Rite of Preparation: While the Divine Liturgy consists of two parts, the service of the Word and the service of the Eucharist, each part can be further subdivided. The service of the Word begins with a period of preparation, purification and catechizing as a fitting introduction to the reading of Scripture.
Opening Hymn and Prayer: The opening hymn is usually a psalm of praise or a hymn commemorating the feast. While being an act of worship, this recitation helps lift our minds and hearts to the contemplation of holy things. The celebrant and servers enter the Sanctuary      further symbolizing the presence of Christ in the midst of His community. The celebrant proclaims his unworthiness and asks for prayers that he might obtain forgiveness. The first prayer of the Liturgy is intended to announce the feast being celebrated or to cite the theme of the day.
The Celebrant's Greeting and the Hymn of the Angels: The celebrant greets the church community with a salutation of peace, to which the congregation responds with the angelic hymn of peace. We are reminded that the life of Christ begins with the angel's announcement of peace, and that Christ's appearances after His resurrection always opened with a greeting of peace. Isaiah has prophesied a prince of peace. The angels at the birth of Christ proclaimed a new world order of peace between the heavens and the earth. Christ announces the giving of a peace that is not of this world. The Resurrected Christ offers both peace and the forgiveness of sins. The commitment to peace is reaffirmed later in the   liturgy when the gesture of peace is offered to each member of the worshiping community.
It is fitting that the Liturgy begins with the angelic hymn, for in our faith we believe that whenever the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on earth, the boundaries between heaven and earth are removed and earthy worshipers join in the eternal Heavenly Liturgy chanted by the angels. During these moments of earthly adoration, we have the opportunity of being mystically transported to the threshold of Heaven. Being in a holy place and about to participate in holy things, we are aware of our finitude and sinfulness. In this service of the Holy Mysteries, we are about to hear the Sacred Word of God and our bodies and souls await the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare and purify ourselves. Part of our preparation consists in being catechized regarding God's plan of salvation and about the event in the Liturgical Year that we are celebrating. We also seek the words to express sorrow for our sins and to solicit God's mercy. And, at this point near the beginning of the Divine Service, we take the occasion to petition God for our needs.
The Prayer of Forgiveness (Hoosoyo): It is to all these aspects that the "Prayer of Forgiveness" or Hoosoyo seeks to respond. The term Hoosoyo in Syriac has the meaning of atonement or pardon and can also refer to God's mercy seat. Syriac Christians applied the term to Christ Himself. The Hoosoyo begins with a preamble or proemion which is addressed to God in the person of Christ. The purpose of the proemion is to offer worship by uttering the glorious names of God. In fact, this prayer is reminiscent of the prayer known as the "eighteen benedictions" offered by the Jews in their synagogues service. Such a practice of proclaiming the beautiful names of God as an act of adoration is found in many religions. What is particular to the Maronite tradition is that all names and titles that Scripture applies to God are directed to Christ. For example, in the proemion of the Sunday of the Announcement to the Virgin Mary, we pray: "may we be worthy to praise and confess the God of earth and sky, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Life-Giver. In His love and foreknowledge He decided to return to the heirs of Adam and pitch His tent in their midst. . . . " In the proemion of the Sunday of the Visitation to Elizabeth, we proclaim: "may we be worthy to praise, confess and glorify the Lord of all eternity, who hid himself in the womb of the Virgin; the Ancient of Days, who was concealed in the Virgin's temple...."
Echoing the Council of Nicea that affirmed that the Word of God is of one being with the Father, our Maronite tradition therefore, prays that the Word of God incarnate in Christ is "the Creator, Sustainer, Life-Giver, and Ancient of Days," titles that we often attribute to God the Father. Perhaps, we have here an example of an ancient Christian principle that the "law of faith becomes the law of prayer". We also have examples in church history where the reverse is also true: "the law of prayer becomes the law of faith."
The body of the Hoosoyo or Sedro is divided into two sections. The first section is a prayer of praise of the works of God and His plan of  salvation, or an exposition of the meaning of the feast being celebrated. This section often serves a catechetical function. Often in our Maronite tradition the Liturgy was the great teacher of people. It was their theological handbook. By meditating on the whole range of prayers in the Liturgy, the laity were educated in the faith. In fact, our prime source of Maronite theology today remains the prayers of the Holy Mysteries and the Divine Office. For example, a concise presentation of the Maronite understanding of God's revelation is found in the Hoosoyo of the Sunday of the Announcement to Zechariah. It teaches: "O Lord of heaven and earth, in times past you spoke to your chosen ones through   messengers and angels. Adam heard you walking through the garden, and Your voice led Abraham to a strange and new land. Moses saw You in a cloud and in a pillar of fire. Your mysterious words appearedon the wall, traced by an unknown hand. Through these means you have prepared a straight and level path for the final revealer of Your mystery. You have spoken, yet You have no mouth. You have no feet, yet you led. You have never known sin, but You are infinite in Your mercy toward sinners."
The last section of the Hoosoyo consists of a series of litany of petitions. In fact, the term Sedro in Syriac means: rank, series, order or  phalanx. Since God has accorded to his people graces in the past, we implore Him to continue His generosity. An example of this litany of petitions is found in the Hoosoyo of the Wednesday Memorial of the Virgin Mary. It prays: "O Lord, through the prayers of Your Mother, keep away from the earth and its people the scourge of wrath; eliminate dangers and disturbances; remove war, captivity, hunger and plaque from us. Have compassion on us, we are weak, comfort us, we are sick; assist us, we are in need; deliver us, we are oppressed; grant rest to the  faithful departed and enable us to reach a happy death. ... "
During the praying of the Hoosoyo, incense is burned. The celebrant or deacon incenses the people and the interior of the church so that all may be purified in preparation for the reading of the Word of God. The burning of incense is a powerful symbol. Incense represents something precious and sweet smelling that is burnt and therefore consumed. It therefore, represents sacrifice, the act of surrender for the sake of a higher purpose. Thus, Christ, the martyrs and all who lay down their life for another are living incense. The burning of incense at the Hoosoyo sets the tone for our Liturgy. It symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ that liberates us from our sins. In participating in the burning of incense, we seek first of all purification and forgiveness. We also pledge that our lives will be consumed in good works so that we may also become an offering pleasing to God.
The congregation responds to the Hoosoyo by chanting a hymn or psalm (Qolo) appropriate to the theme of the feast being celebrated. The celebrant then summarizes the Hoosoyo by chanting a concluding prayer of incense (Etro).
Taken from A Commentary on the Holy Mysteries: The Holy Mystery of Offering (Qorbono)
By Chorbishop Seely Beggiani (
If you have questions about Catholic teaching or our Maronite tradition, or would like to suggest a topic, please email us or tell us the next time we see you. Thank you and God Bless.
 David Wahby ( and Tony Simon (