Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Recently we’ve begun hosting Saint Sharbel Mission of the Maronite Catholic Church. Prior to meeting here at St. Francis of Assisi they used the chapel at Cardinal Gibbons High School, which they outgrew. Currently Saint Sharbel uses our St. Mary of the Angels Chapel each Sunday at 1:00 pm for their Divine Liturgy and then the Assisi Community Center for fellowship following. The mission of Saint Sharbel Mission is to “preserve the faith, traditions, and heritage of the Maronite Catholic Church through the teaching of Jesus Christ through the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Their website notes that “as a Maronite Catholic Church in Raleigh, they share the treasures of our eastern heritage – culture, family ethics, traditions, spirituality and liturgy with all our brothers and sisters in the Triangle area of North Carolina, while promoting our Christian faith, peace, and harmony in our community. Our church which started in Antioch with Saint Maron has more than 1400 years of Christian tradition and a special sacred language, Aramaic, the spoken language of Jesus Christ. Aramaic is still used in our Divine Liturgy (Mass), especially during the consecration of the Body and Blood of our Lord and during the invocation of the Holy Spirit. Our liturgy is in English and Arabic, simple and very popular. Everyone is welcome to join us in our worship and way of life, as a humble community seeking to serve and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and live by his eternal life giving commandments.”

The Maronite Church in the United States is neither a national church nor a territorial church. It is the implantation of a venerable old Christian tradition in the New World.  The name Maronite points out a particular relationship with the saint monk whose name was Maroun in Syriac and Maron in Greek. Maron was a contemporary of Saint Patrick. As with Patrick in Ireland, Saint Maron attracted people from far and near who were drawn by his godliness and wisdom and who desired to live under his spiritual guidance. Just as later in Europe, the settlements that grew up around monasteries became cities and nations, the monastery Beth-Maron built near Saint Maron’s tomb became the nucleus of a community where men and women, under the guidance of the monks could find material and spiritual happiness. This is the reason why the liturgy and the organization of the Maronite community even today have monastic characteristics. The Maronite Church is in full communion with Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. For more information, I found this web site helpful:

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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