WITH APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE
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
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU!!
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
The next Men’s Society meeting will be held on Thursday January 7th at 6:30 pm in the Lebanon room
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.