Young Lebanese actor, singer and influencer Wissam Saliba stands as St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy ambassador of advocacy and good will.
Fr Andre with president trump at national day of prayer may 4- 2017 signature of the national day of prayer and the executive order on religious freedom
White House national day of prayer- signing of executive order to protect religious freedom – with dr Ben Carson Secratary of housing usa may 4- 2017- with Alvida King – niece of Martin Luther King
White House morning national day of prayer Fr Andre with sisters of the poor and supreme knight witnessing the signing of the executive order on religious freedom
Denver – “The children were shot one-by-one,” says Fr. Andre Mahanna, Director of St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy who has been speaking with sources on the ground in Egypt since the attack this morning.
“The death toll, is higher than you think,” reports Mahanna.
(Official Egyptian Coptic Church statement condemning the attack.)
Two buses and a minivan carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya Province, central Egypt were surrounded on the road by gunmen arriving in SUVs as the pilgrims traveled on a highway along the west bank of the Nile river.
Mahanna, a Maronite Catholic priest from Lebanon and the U.S.A. President of the Apostolic Union of Clergy, a Vatican associated office, is in regular contact with Christian bishops, patriarchs, popes and leaders in the Middle East regarding the genocide of Christians in the region.
His sources tell him, “One bus had 15 workers. The other bus has 35 children followed by a minivan with an entire family. All 35 children were shot one-by-one. Three survivors are in the hospital in Naser. The other 15 workers are all dead.”
Mahanna’s source calls this act of terror “the tax we pay for the faith.”
“The targeting of children,” says Mahanna, “is a despicable tactic used to increase shock and awe. It is pure evil.”
Fr. Andre Mahanna, pastor of St. Rafka’s Catholic Church in Lakewood, is available for interviews.
February 12, 2016, Friday — Today’s Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba
The Middle East — “We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East.”—Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba, just a few minutes ago, following the first meeting ever between a Roman Catholic Pope and a Russian Orthodox Patriarch
Martyrs and Unity — “We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians.” —Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba
Europe and Christianity — “While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.” —Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba
The Family — “We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman.” —Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba
Catholic-Orthodox Relations — “We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be ‘in harmony with one another’ (Rm15:5).” —Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Common statement, issued today in Cuba
The Common Statement, Full Text
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2016
“It Is With Joy That We Have Met Like Brothers”
Released by the Holy See immediately upon its signing in Havana, below is the official English text of today’s Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia following the first-ever meeting between the heads of Christianity’s two largest branches.
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The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2Jn12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf.1Pet3:15).
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn17:21).
6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!
7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.
8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.
9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.
10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.
11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table.
At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action.
We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action.
We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1Pet4:12–13).
13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1Cor14:33).
14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes.
Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith.
Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions.
Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side.
Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.
15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom.
It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.
16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities.
While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.
17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.
18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1Cor1:27–29).
19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.
20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.
21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf.Gen4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.
We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.
22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.
23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt5:14,16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1Cor6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.
24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world.
urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm15:5).
Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rm15:20).
25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.
26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.
27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.
28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.
29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1Pet2:10).
30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!
Bishop of Rome
Pope of the Catholic Church
Patriarch of Moscow
and all Russia
12 February 2016, Havana (Cuba)
Special note: Our Inside the Vatican Easter pilgrimage to Italy in March includes Assisi, city of peace, and Norcia, the town of the renewed Benedictine monastery of Norcia. I will travel on this pilgrimage, and it will include special interesting meetings. We will also travel to Russia in July on our third annual Urbi et Orbi Foundation pilgrimage, which will include interesting meetings. To read our full schedule, click here. To send an email to us about this pilgrimage, click here.
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What is the glory of God?
“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.
The Gift of Silence IX:
The Redemptive Silence of the Virgin Mary
For the Book called: God for Dummies
July 9- 2017
I. The Redemptive Silence of the Virgin Mary:
The redemptive silence of the Virgin Mary is the story of every human being with whom God enters into a sacred covenant for the sake of salvation. I like to define the redemptive silence of the Virgin Mary as the flowing river, or the Gate of Heaven or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Way of Light that allowed God to enter and act directly in our human history. For through Mary, her few words and her many silences, God the Father revealed His Divine Providence where in all Divine Wisdom God acted fully our Redemption that we have all received through the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
II. The Redemptive Silence of the Virgin Mary in relationship to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
It is ok sometimes to speak little bit of Faith beliefs. Today, I like to share with us all the value of the Silence in the Virgin Mary as a sign of obedience to God the Father; full support and Trust in the work of the Son, her Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and as the consoling remedy and the defending person to Jesus in the Holy Spirit. For, like the Holy Spirit, Mary never left Jesus during his most public difficult times, she remained standing near the Cross, and more so she remained with the Apostles and the Disciples of Jesus at the sending out of the Church.
III. The Virgin Mary in the New Testament:
In the New Testament, The Virgin Mary is mentioned 12 times in the Gospel of Luke all in the infancy of Jesus; 6 Times in the Gospel of Matthew, five of which at the infancy of Jesus and once in Chapter 13:55 when the Jews asks about Jesus saying that they know his father and his mother and his brothers and his sisters; 3 times in the Gospel of Mark, but only once Mark mentions her by name in Mark 6:3 in the same context of knowing Jesus’s family. the other two times Mark refers to the Virgin Mary as the Mother of Jesus or Jesus’ mother; 2 times in the Gospel of Saint John, though he only he refers to her as the Mother of Jesus. John’s mentions are the Wedding in Cana of Galilee, (John 2: 1-12) and when he describes her standing near the Cross in John 19: 25- 26 along with Mary Magdalen, Mary of Cleophas and the disciple that Jesus loved.
The total of the mentions of the Virgin Mary in all four gospels is 23 times. On the other hand, we find few other mentions about the Virgin Mary in the New Testament namely in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Book of Revelation. 1 time in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1: 14) Saint Luke, who wrote this book, mentions the Virgin Mary in the context of what took place after the ascension of Jesus until the day of Pentecost. 3 times in the Book of Revelation, Saint John mentions “the woman clothed with the Sun; and the woman with the male child” in (Revelation 12: 1, 5- 6). According to many interpretations, there is one other reference to the Virgin Mary in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 11: 19), when the Revelation speaks about the Temple of God appearing and the Ark of the Covenant appearing in its midst; Mary is associated with the Ark of the Covenant.
28 times of total mentions about the Virgin Mary in all of the New Testament! Finally, it is very important to refresh our memory about the definition of the New Testament being an integral part of the Holy bible namely it speaks about Jesus, the early foundation of the Church, the Letters, and the Book of Revelation called the Apocalypse. Remember that the New Testament has in it 27 books.
IV. The Triumphant Heart of the Virgin Mary leads all people to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Gift of Redemption
In the First week of July, I had the privilege to sit and listen to Mother Olga, an Assyrian nun originally from Iraq, who became Catholic and the founder of a congregation of sisters who is under the Archdiocese of Boston’s jurisdiction. I was able to attend her workshop on The Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary at the National Apostolate of Maronites Convention in Greenville, South Carolina. Her first statement was the commonality of mentions and beliefs about the Virgin Mary in all or most traditions of the Holy church. “In all apostolic Church traditions there is something about the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” mother Olga said. Then she told the story of Our Lady of Fatima In 1917, where the Virgin Mary told the three children of Fatima to pray to the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart who contemplates on our behalf the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mother Olga spoke about praying once with a Muslim man in Boston who was dying with cancer. Having attended Islamic Studies, she knew the boundaries with Muslims. She always held rosaries in their hands or upon their shoulders. In fact, there is something similar to the Rosary beads in Islam, for Muslims pray the 99 beads. They are called the Good Names of God. So the beads are a common type of prayer. In one of her conversations with the sick Muslim man who asked for Catholic chaplain while in the Hospital, mother Olga asked him, “Why did you ask for a Catholic Christian person to pray not for Muslim Sheikh?” He responded, “I will be honest with you sister, the second largest book of Quran is the Book of Maryian. When I knew I was dying and they wanted to send me back home, I really wanted to see Allah. I really did not want to take a chance. So I thought Mary is the closest person to Allah. We call her Sayedat Al-Alamine, The Lady of Heaven and Earth. Thinking about her this way, I knew that Catholics are closer to her then me, and I really wanted to have someone pray to her to get me to Allah.”
Mother Olga consequently decides to teach the Muslim man the prayer of the Rosary. She said that the man once asked her: “teach me how to invoke her Name.” As a result, mother Olga taught him the Rosary and she exclaims, “So I kept my Rosary with him.” Mother Olga continues that “After he died, nurses told me that every time the last week before he left the hospital he felt great pain, he would squeeze on that Rosary and feel at peace.”
My dear brothers and sisters, something is very powerful in the prayer of the Rosary. It extends the Mystery of Redemption and brings God near every soul who is in trouble, or in suffering, or under attack. The Rosary also changes the course of public history, it changes political destinies and military plans. The Rosary stands near the cross of the sufferer, just like the Virgin Mary stood near the Cross of her only Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. The Rosary also is an evangelizer who speaks without talking about Jesus’s love for our humanity. It feels as if the Rosary is also the Gate for the foes of Christ to convert, or to protect the faithful from evil. The Rosary addresses the Mystery of Salvation granted to us by God the Father through contemplation of the Life of Christ, bringing the grace and Heaven’s Blessings to us to me now as I pray in the Holy Spirit. The Prayer of the Rosary is the extension of the Redeeming Silence of the Virgin Mary, who keeps speaking and evangelizing through prayers and motions of Joy, of Sadness, of Glory and of Light the great Face of God who is all Life.
The Rosary is one of the best tools for evangelization, it is the calendar that God put in the hands of the Virgin Mary to ensure the continuation of Salvation to reach every space and time. The Rosary insures divine appointments granting occasions for people to confess, to vow out their internal pain, revealing the people’s most internal and most existential cries and needs for God and his Mother.
In her workshop, mother Olga spoke about meeting people during travels and on the planes. She once met a lady on a plane who did not like the Catholic Church, and had lots of anger and many questions and objections. Mother said, “I usually meet people where they are. I don’t challenge them but I accept their statements”. Consequently mother said that “behind the anger of the people lays the remaining love that is still held in the heart of the hurt people to the Catholic Church.”
In this regard mother Olga continued saying: “It hurts much where we love much.” Through the pain of the people and our sympathy and attention to that pain, mother Olga found the way to change people’s heart. Consequently, looking at today’s world, just like in the past, the Church in fact is accused of allowing souls to be sad and not to see Christ, especially when the Church is cause of major scandals. As mother Olga said, “But at the end, we all have to realize we are sinful people, we cannot save souls, we know our limitations. But we rely on the ones who know hearts and know souls: Mary and Jesus. The Rosary is a constant reminder for people to come back home.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we see many people who even though are angry at the church but they still carry the Rosary of their grandparents or parents. The Rosary stays with them. Such a contradicting reality made mother Olga conclude the following: Mary through the Rosary never leaves her Children.
Mother said she prayed a lot in her life for peace. She entrusts this nation, she entrusted the election at an early stage, she entrusted Iraq and the Middle East to Our Lady of Fatima for the intention of peace.
My brothers and sisters, we have account of apparitions of the Virgin Mary outside of the New Testament’s 28 mentions of her, that are in the hundreds if not in the thousands. Mary, who remained silent near the cross, today keeps speaking the Words of the Gospel of Good News through many apparitions and changing experiences of people’s lives. Each one of us, if not most, have stories to tell about the Virgin doing something for us in our lives. People in the Middle East know better than anyone else the power of the Virgin Mary. Her silence that is the living sign of Obedience, Faith, Trust and consolation from heaven to us, is now in need for our carrying of the Message of the Gospel to all nations of the World: Though the Prayer of the Rosary we can give peace to this world. How dumb it is to know that your prayer can make peace in the world and yet you still decide not to pray? It is not only dumb to do so, but it is evil, too. I invite us to humble prayer of the Rosary accompanied by reflection on the Word of God in the Bible, by examination of Conscience and confession, and by attending and actively participating in the Holy Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy called: The Mass.
May God bless us all and May the Silence of the Virgin Mary near the Cross, be the loud message to us all that through her injured and sad heart, we all get to contemplate the beauty of Salvation that was granted to all of us when Jesus’s Heart was pierced with a lance and blood and water flowed from him to irrigate the entire world with forgiveness of sins and with the gift of Eternal Life.
Fr Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna
Thank you letter from Bishop Kassarji, Bishop of Catholic Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut- acknowledging the reception of the Christmas Gift and Food Drive for 2016 for over 1000 children from Syria and Ira.
My dear friends in Christ,
Like all of us in this nation, my heart aches for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Our neighbors in the southern region of the United States are suffering immeasurable destruction, loss, damage, and despair. They need our help. I join my faithful brothers and sisters and pray to Almighty God, the Father of Heaven, to grant rest to those who have perished in this catastrophic weather, to console the hearts of their loved ones, and to send aid to those who need food, shelter, medicine, support, clothing, and love. Together we can provide them hope.
Members of the United States Office of the Apostolic Union of Clergy and Laity Association, on behalf of its International President Msgr. Giuseppe Magrin in Rome, will come together on Sunday September 17, 2017 to offer Mass for the victims. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is appealing for a special collection on SEPTEMBER 17th in parishes throughout the country.
As the national president of the Apostolic Union of Clergy and Laity Association and pastor of St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church, I will offer Mass on Sunday, September 17th at 10:30a.m. We will raise prayers and will ask for an extraordinary one-time collection to help in providing emergency assistance to the victims of this natural disaster. After the Mass services, I invite all to join me in prayer. For those who cannot attend, I encourage you to find your closest place of worship to pray, light a candle, or send a donation through our website. We will post any updates on our disaster relief efforts on our website.
The Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy, under Bishop Elias Zaidan’s immediate moral and ecclesiastic care, will send our collection to the office of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles for the Maronite Church in America. Some of these funds will go to support the displaced parishioners of Our Lady of the Cedars Church in Houston. Remarkably, the Maronite Catholic parish in Houston, Texas is one of the most active parishes in the church. In better times, the good people of their parish kindheartedly provided much aid and support to migrants who fled from persecution in the Middle East.
The Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy knows very well the reality of heartbroken people. Thus, we formed ourselves to be soldiers of Christ, good Samaritans, and apostles of hope and mercy, who extend support to the millions of persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We must act in generosity and support, but most of all, we will offer prayers and implorations to God to rescue his people who are experiencing devastation, for they are true people of faith, hope and love.
We must never disvalue the heart and conscience that God granted when He created us. So, we pray that people of good will and public officials in our Nation, come together with the Spirit of working in the spirit of solidarity to assist in the needs of the neighbor. We urge religious leaders in this nation to hold prayers of encouragement, healing, protection, consolation from grief and protection for survivors so that their needs may be truly be met.
May God bless all those who will act according to the love of God and the love of thy neighbor. Time is critical. Thank you for your caring and support during this devastating time in the southern United States of America.
Fr Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna
Pastor, St. Rafka Maronite Church
Founder & President, St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy
YouTube link: Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1Bko_MGTII&has_verified=1
Bulletin/ Blog Weekly Message:
Sunday July 30, 2017
Appeal to Mary, Our Mother of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen
Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas,
“God saw the world falling to ruin because of fear and immediately acted to call it back with love.
God invited it by grace, preserved it by love, and embraced it with compassion.”
With these words filled with Faith, Hope and Love, I greet your Mother O Lord, calling Her: Star of the East, Light of all Nations! Help of Christians.
Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, please break the silence. You need to speak in America “Hic et Nunc”, “Here and Now”.
My hurt comes ultimately from the sad story of NIMAR NADER, one of five babies who ended up dead this past week because a local Lebanese hospital demanded $6500.00 dollars be secured from private funds in order to continue his care.
Even though the family has United Nations refugee papers, the U.N. had refused to pay for his full treatment.
They told the family to either keep the baby in the same hospital, which was not equipped to treat the poor baby, or to move him. The family sought funds from CARITAS Lebanon, to move him, but were refused.
Well NIMAR died.
NIMAR, who was not even a one month old, suffered from severe esophageal Atresia causing major stress in his lungs. Without proper treatment, NIMAR choked, and died.
While NIMAR was in the hospital, I was at the National Apostolate of Maronites Convention, whose president at the time, and the priest who is the NAM national board spiritual director refused to allow me to speak during the evening dinner, about his and the other cases for which we needed immediate money.
With his death, I failed his mother and father, who had appealed to me from so far away. I failed him too. I am sorry, and I confess this sin to God and before you all.
Earlier this week, from Lebanon, I was notified of the ugly deaths of NIMAR and 4 other Iraqi Christian babies, one old man — the only provider for his family, and over 17 babies found tossed in the trash.
These are the real people the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/ St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy tries to save, and find treatment for in hospitals. They are some of the many desperate cases we are trying to help in Lebanon.
My sincere apology to the parents of the children who died because the U.N. assigned hospitals stopped treating them, did not allow them to enter into the hospitals when urgent care was needed, or accepted them when it was already too late after making them drive long distances to hospitals lacking even basic resources for care.
Dear Mother Mary, it hurts.
Our Apostolate and Mission carry your name, and the name of Saint Rafka. Earlier this month we were able to save a mother and her newborn twins, and another young boy who was almost dead by bringing him back to life after negotiating a last minute deal with the local hospital in Lebanon who at first refused to admit him.
But, nonetheless, the death of these others hurts my heart.
Dearest Our Lady of Guadalupe, what is wrong with these people in America? Why is our pain in the Middle East unheard? Why the silence? I will never stop. I mean it and I ask you to respond and open the hearts, the minds, the conscience and the brains of these people here.
I will not give up. At our booth at the NAM convention, I kept crying out about the need for help. A week later, at Holy Ghost Church in Denver, I appealed with great efforts and wonderful response these cases of immediate need.
I am so, so, so thankful to Archbishop SAM AQUILA, and his Office of Social Ministries, and to Fr. Randy Dollin, the head of the Curia at this great Archdiocese, for designating Saint Rafka Maronite Catholic Church as a Mission Parish.
This indicates that the Pastor of souls in the Archdiocese of Denver Colorado, who this month is celebrating 5 years as the shepherd of Denver, has a conscience, has heart, has wisdom, has a sense of fatherly care, has the guts to raise awareness and to be the voice of the silenced Christians who are being led like sheep to the slaughter without opening their mouth.
Archbishop, while my story is sad, and is an appeal to Our Lady of Guadalupe who you love so much, and to whose Shrine in Mexico you went as pilgrim of faith, hope and love, I thank you and tell you: Please do not leave us orphans. Thank you for your courage. I ask God to reward you and the Archdiocese for the gifts you are sharing with our little Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/ St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy and with Saint Rafka Maronite Catholic Church.
I am thankful to Fr. Chris the Pastor of Holy Ghost, who made time for me to come and speak in his church at all six masses during the weekend of July 15- 16- 2017. I am so thankful to the patience of my parishioners who allowed me to speak at Holy Ghost on Sunday and not be with them for the Mass.
But the ONE MONTH OLD NIMAR could not hold his own. His weak body, lacking oxygen, could wait no longer for our funds to make it to the hospital in Lebanon.
And sadly, he died.
It broke the heart of his mom Khateeti Yousif, and father Lerato Hanna, my heart, and I am sure now his story has broken your hearts as well.
DEAR NIMAR, in Heaven, please ask our Lady’s help up there. Tell her how many babies are to be offered as a sacrifice because of our sins of hate, hypocrisy, apathy and lack of faith, hope and love that are governing here on earth?
Ask Our Lady, “How long will God the Father allow the murderer—satan—father of all murderers and the father of all lies to oppress and govern us here on earth?”
Ask Our Lady when is she going to come down here and crush the head of satan our enemy?
Ask Our Lady for how long are we going to feel this much powerlessness, this much hatred, this much rejection, this much abandonment, this much persecution, this much death, this much fear, this much oppressive reign of evil, from the master of this world?
I am so sorry, little baby, for not being on time to get you money so you could receive better treatment. I entrust you and the other four babies we lost this week to Her care: Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, to whom I am appealing now with all that I have left to offer after all: NOTHING.
With you NIMAR, and with the other babies, I like to urge Our Lady to come and act now. Ask her to stand with your parents and by us. I am so sorry for when I received your mother’s appeal through one of our field operators in Beirut, Catherine Mousa, that the hospitals could not give us any more time to pay for you to live. I heard your mother’s appeal. It hurt me a lot that only after one month of your birth here on earth, you had to be born again in Heaven.
With tears of Faith, yet with concrete hope, and proven love, I say: “May God rest your Soul and the souls of the many other children who are dying every day now in Lebanon from lack of medical care and bad nutrition.”
On your behalf, and with our Lady of Guadalupe, I dare to call out to our Divine Father: “ABBA. Father of Truth. Father of Divine Mercy and God of all Consolation. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. You allowed the murder of your Son for Our salvation, please save us in His Pure Blood.”
“ABBA, with NIMAR’s parents and all the Christian victims of the genocide, and the other minorities amongst the refugees who are not receiving what they were promised to receive under U.N. care, we come to you as your children, who now are being treated like animals — not as humans — to plead our cause to You, and to ask for Your Fatherly Protection.”
NIMAR, with you from Heaven, I plead for the help and assistance of the children of this great yet repenting nation of the United States of America,
NIMAR, this week I also have five fresh cases of children in dire need and in lots of pain in Lebanon. They are our Iraqi and Syrian little brothers and sisters who are suffering and simply are not receiving the proper care? But why? Like those I am appealing to, they and their families believe in Christ.
One of them, when I watched the video of their appeal to us few days back said: “We will not leave Christ”. I honor these people and I pray to Our Lady of Lebanon, to Mary whom we call here Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and I cry out to her saying:
“Mary our Mother, ask your Son to plead our cause for we are persecuted and forgotten.
Mary, Defender of the Christians, remember all those who offered their life for our Freedom and to protect our faith, especially those who were offered as martyrs of the Faith in the Eastern Churches of the Middle East! Remember the children and all other innocent victims of war and hate. Remember NIMAR.”
Mary, Mother of the Americas: You are the Bridge for Evangelization, the Gate of Paradise to the land of poverty and death. You gave Light and joy, Hope and compassion, yet resolve and strength, to people who were looking for comfort and for security.
Please help the people of the Nations of the Middle East especially in these difficult times of persecution and religious fanaticism.
Helps us to consecrate ourselves, our civil leaders, and the people of America, Lebanon and the world to the Triumph of your Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In your image we find comfort and safety. In your veil we find protection from times of suffering and anxiety. In the roses spread across your robe in the midst of winter, we find the birth of new life, the call to rise up in the fullness of beauty to stand Holy in the presence of God who is in You and with us. In your bowed head, we find hope for the broken hearted. In your face, we find the power of God. Protect us from evil.
Do not hide your face for our trouble as Christians.
We ask you today, Come to the defense of the good people in the world and protect us from all kinds of terrorism, from iniquities and violence. O Lord, through the prayers of your Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Hope and of Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Lebanon, keep away from the earth and all its people the scourge of wrath; eliminate dangers and disturbances; Remove war, captivity, hunger, and plague from us. Have Compassion on us, we are weak; Comfort us, we are sick; Assist us, we are in need; Deliver us from Evil our enemy, we are oppressed.
Rise up, in defense of your people.
Enrich America with Holiness and with Kindness.
O Christ our Lord, You made your Mother, the inculturated Evangelizer, the image of the Living Ecclesia of America and its Mother. Soften the hearts of the people here and the civil leaders to help rescue the Christians in the Lands of your Birth, in the Lands of the Bible.
O Mother of the New Advent, I ask God who is the Father of the Orphan that though you:
May the souls of all the children who died in this evil persecution find rest in Heaven, receive the Crown of Martyrs and be our Intercessors in these times of difficulties.
May sinners be absolved,
And enemies be reconciled,
May those who hate find peace
And those who are sad find joy,
May those who grieve in our nation be consoled
and those who are sick be healed,
May those in distress in our nation find comfort
And those who repent be humbled.
We ask this O Father, through the intercession of our Mother Mary the Virgin, as we Honor you with your Son and Holy Spirit, One God to whom be Glory forever. Amen.
God bless you,
Fr. Andre Y Mahanna, pastor
September 1, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Assembly of Hope and Mercy:
Defending Christians in the Lands Where It All Began
September 18, 2015
7pm – 9pm
St. John Francis Regis Chapel
Inspired by the Peace, Love and Co-Existence Among the Children of Abraham (PLACE) initiative of the Archdiocese of Denver and Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon Office of Inter-Faith and Ecumenical Affairs, “The Assembly of Hope and Mercy: Defending Christians in the Lands Where It All Began” is an evening of live witnesses, exclusive videos and expert panel discussions that will raise the awareness of the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
The evening is sponsored by Save Christians in the Middle East (www.savechristianmiddleeast.org), a group of religious, business and community partners whose goal is to provide immediate support to these endangered Christians. They have designated the month of September for raising awareness of the critical situation that faces Christians in the Middle East.
For the first time, the Church—East and West, Apostolic and Evangelical Christians—will gather together in Denver, Colorado to show unity and implement a response to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Regis University is hosting the event in the St. John Francis Regis Chapel on its campus and Colorado Christian University presenters are committed to raise awareness of the Christian need.
Under the auspices of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon Office of Inter-Faith and Ecumenical Affairs, with the Archdiocese of Denver and in partnership with host Regis University, the Assembly of Hope and Mercy brings newly released refugees and special guests from Lebanon for personal witness. See video footage of the destruction to holy places, hear stories from Iraqi and Syrian Christian refugees of what is left in the Middle East, learn about the lives of peril and persecution that they fled. Get first-hand accounts from families who lived under the oppression of ISIS – whose mission is to destroy Christianity in the part of the world where Christianity began. Meet families who suffered death and women who survived rape – a “holy right” of jihadists – and escaped. With moderator Peter Boyles, learn about the history, geography, and religious and anthropological complexities of the Middle East from an expert panel. Ask questions; get answers. Live and taped speakers include Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Bishop Elias Zaidan, Retired General Chilton, Major General Rayburn, Professor Shaul Gabbay, Father Andre Mahanna, and more.
Find out what you can do to help stop the murderous persecution of Christians and the elimination of Christianity in the Middle East. Join us on Friday September 18, 2015 from 7-9 PM at Regis University. Seating is limited. Reservations are required and can be made at www.savechristianmiddleeast.org. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit www.savechristianmiddleeast.org.
Immediate help is needed for those who stand for their Christian faith. The stakes are high – for these Christians and for Christianity throughout the world. We must save Christianity in the Middle East – the lands where Christianity began.
Father Andre Mahanna is a man on a mission — a mission of hope and mercy.
In May of last year, Father Mahanna hosted the first annual Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, gathering clergy and laity for a morning of prayer and solidarity to raise awareness for the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. On May 20, the second annual Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast will be held at St. Bernadette Catholic Parish in Lakewood.
Though the primary function of the breakfast is to raise awareness of the dire situation in the Middle East, any funds raised will go directly to St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy, an organization founded by Father Mahanna that provides aid to those facing persecution in the Middle East, as well as those displaced by violence and forced to flee as refugees.
“Our care is first for the Christians and then others who are persecuted,” Father Mahanna stated in a press release. “Not because they are a minority, but because they are on the frontline of a modern day genocide. They are suffering barbaric situations now, so they are, in fact, the true harbingers of what Americans should be aware.”
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila will preside over the breakfast, which will once again boast attendance from a variety of local clergy. Those invited include local Greek Orthodox leaders, Protestant, Episcopalian and Evangelical pastors, and Muslim guests. Ecumenical relations are a priority of Father Mahanna, and he sought to gather an interfaith community to come together for the common goal of peace in the Middle East.
The prayer breakfast is open to the public. Over 350 were in attendance at last year’s prayer breakfast, and Father Mahanna hopes to draw even more this year.
Two Syrian refugees will share their testimonies during the prayer breakfast, and Father Mahanna also intends to announce a fundraising campaign to benefit the Mission of Hope and Mercy in an effort to provide even more assistance to refugees and persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
“We have to help them, otherwise we will be at the mercy of terrorism, which has no mercy,” Father Mahanna said.
7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
St. Bernadette Catholic Parish
7240 W. 12th Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80214
RSVP by May 15 at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy, visit https://savechristianmiddleeast.org
Please follow the link to read the newsletter.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, accompanied by his predecessor, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, joined with Orthodox leaders of Denver earlier this month to jointly condemn the violence… Read full story here
February 5, 2016, Friday — More on the Pope Francis-Patriarch Kirill Meeting in Havana, Cuba, on February 12
“Thus, in full awareness and at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed with his blood, the current successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstruction of the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers. This is his ambition and compelling duty. He is aware that to do so, expressions of good feelings are not enough. Concrete gestures are required to penetrate souls and move consciences, encouraging everyone to that interior conversion which is the basis for all progress on the road of ecumenism.
“Theological dialogue is necessary. A profound examination of the historical reasons behind past choices is also indispensable. But even more urgent is that ‘purification of