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Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir
Abouna Jean Younes, Chorbishop Mihcael Thomas, Bishop Gregory Mansour & Monsignor Ignace Sadek
Nabil, His Excellency Bishop Gregory Mansour & His Excellency Monsignor Ignace Sadek
A Renewed Sense of Spirituality…. A New Course in Miracles… and a True Return to Love!...
A New tale of Christmas… The True meaning of Christmas!...
at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Brooklyn NY
Dinner with Abouna Jean and his family
an article by Nabil, the Publisher of the Lebanese Cultural News Journal
I was honored and humbled when Abouna Jean Younes invited me to join him and his family for dinner at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, on Christmas Eve December 24, 2006. Abouna Jean is the revered Pastor of the new Westchester Maronite Mission.
Unlike most of us whose "tribal" concept of Christmas is to succumb to the commercial materialism everywhere and isolate ourselves in our little shoe boxes with our direct families and "tribes" excluding everyone else, Abouna Jean Younes, along with his beautiful mother Na3imi (آمّا نَعيمِه)... and his delightful cousin Katia, did not choose to spend Christmas Eve alone in “family” isolation!… They opened their hearts and home to welcome me along with our beloved Bishop, His Excellency Gregory Mansour and His Excellency Monsignor Ignace Sadek, the Cathedral Rector, as well as the two gentle souls, Elie and Myrna.
It was a Lebanese Sahra with all its glory... La joie de vivre, the good hearts, the welcoming hospitality, the good food, the spontaneous outburst into Zajal by the endearing Monsignor Sadek, the sing along by all of us, and the dance by Tante Na3imi with her amazingly beautiful voice, the true life of a Lebanese hafleh.
Most importantly, it was a Lebanese gathering like no other... A Lebanese get together with a True Return to Love.. and a contagious Return to the true sense of humility and genuine spirituality -- with the Lord Jesus amongst us as we unite in His name... Bishop Gregory was speaking eloquently with pleasant passages that could only have been borrowed from the Heart of God and The Book of Wisdom. He made reference to the Moslem slogan Allahoo Akbar (God is Great) and introduced to me an "out of the ordinary" slogan that I have never heard before; Allahou Azghar (God is the smallest of all)... an unfamiliar slogan that I could not for the life of me begin to understand until later on that evening and after I listened to his heartwarming sermon during the Midnight Mass. This article will talk about Midnight Mass later...
It is worth noting that the soft spoken, gentle Bishop Mansour seems to be a walking encyclopedia. Knowing he was born in the US to Lebanese parents, I was quite impressed by his ability to understand and communicate in Arabic as well as his ability to recite Sourah Al-Fatihah سورة الفاتِحَة, the very first Ayat آيَة in the Holy Quran القرآن الكريم. In a world where "some" brutal Moslems choose to call fellow Christians, believers of God, infidels and shamelessly call for their death in total disregard for the sanctity of human life, I witnessed this Holy Man of the Church recite a Sourah from another good religion of God, on Christmas Eve, with such heartwarming smile and disarming purity.
United in the name of Jesus on the day He was born, one could not help but feel that warm glow of positive energy... one that calls upon the inner child within, with that exceptionally pure perception of life. It was a serene place for "good people" to get together in the name of Jesus Christ and Lebanon on Christmas Eve... A place of warmth, beauty, serenity and infinite love that comforts the turmoil within and brings to us a serene state of natural euphoria...
A mystical revelation where we can find comfort in understanding that somehow... at the center of our human existence... an aspect of our life is... divine!...
Abouna Jean could not help but share with the rest of us a little known fact, that on September 11, 2001, as the two towers of the World Trade Center were crumbling under the forces of brutal hatred and criminal ignorance, Monsignor Sadek stood gracefully by the waterfront with his hands up and the air... giving the last rites, in the name of Jesus Christ, to thousands of dying people he doesn't even know... people from all religions... and all walks of life... people who were saved on the last minute of their life because ONE Holy Man took the necessary action at the right time... Such course in Miracles could only come, as a Gift from God, manifested through the very few of us who selflessly project unto others the genuine essence of God's true image.
Monsignor Sadek is the Cathedral Rector and a living legend at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn. Highly loved and revered, he displays utter modesty, humor "à la Libanaise" and a true connection to our Lebanese traditions and childhood in Lebanon... and guess what, Sa3id Akl سعيد عقل and Mkhayel N3aymeh مخايل نْعَيْمِه are amongst his many friends.
After dinner, Abouna Jean invited us to go to church at 10:30 pm to recite the Holy Rosary in front of the Virgin Mary's shrine and the Nativity Scene in preparation for the Birth of Christ. Article continued here!
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Pictures from the Dinner with Abouna Jean Younes
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