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FR. ANDRE MAHANNA said 2/22/2014 12:20:37 PM :
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,
According to the Liturgical Cycle of the Maronite Church’s Liturgical Year, this Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, and the week that follows, are called, Sunday and Week of the Faithful Departed.

The central theology of the commemoration of the Faithful Departed is based on the Holy Eucharist and the Baptism. The Body and Blood, according to the Maronite Liturgy of the Hours, cancel the effect of death. Death is not an end for those who receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Death in fact becomes a bridge by the power of the Holy Baptism, which becomes like a ship, sailing in stormy seas, yet with the Body and Blood of Christ, the Ship of Baptism will get us to the safe harbor, to paradise and life eternal.

The Maronite Liturgy of the Hours in Syriac says, “Faghrokh Wadmokh Dashqalnan Nehwoon Lan Ourho Wgeshro Wma’barto, Dne’bar Dlo Qente Men Hoshoukho Lnaheero, W’en hoo Dab Nouro Den… Eet 'Amkhoun Ma'moudeeto Alfo Dlo Tab'O.”

Here is the translation of this wonderful statement of faith and of conquering death and darkness: “May Your Body and Blood, which we have received, be for us the road, the bridge and the transporting ship. With it we pass without fear from darkness to the light … And when “He” judges in the fire, may the Baptism be for you the ship that will never sink.”

This is our prayer to God for the sake of our Faithful Departed, those who believed in the Cross, in Baptism and in the Living Holy Eucharist “Qourbono” the Offered Bread. They passed away from us and were transported to God in the hope of Eternal Life.

My dear friends, life is very short as we try to store our treasures and build our true homes here. In fact, our Maronite Liturgy for the dead never speaks of the Faithful Departed as the ones who are dead. It called them instead “the dead who got transferred” “Al Mawta Al Muntaqeleen." More so, the Prayer of the Hours for the Faithful Departed says clearly that the dead ones got transferred from this vanishing world to the Paradise of the Joys of God. There they will sit at the Table of Offerings. There God will not enter into account with them, but will grant them the joy and happiness of the saints, those whose reward is to gaze at God’s face for eternity.

My friends, May God grant rest to all the Faithful Departed, especially our family members and loved ones, who we knew at our local parish.

Remember, in every Church in the Catholic Church, the Church maintains a record called the Book of Life. In this book, we record the memories of Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, Holy Orders or religious vows, Last Rites and dates of death of all the faithful members who maintained a faithful and consistent relation with their parishes.

It is an honorable custom to pray for our dead. The pastors of every Catholic Church are required to offer at least five Masses a year for all the people of God who they serve in the local parish, both living and deceased.

So my friends please do not forget to pray for your loved ones. For us they become intercessors, and for them we can help them always achieve their salvation through God’s mercy and our sacrifice and active thinking of them.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
And may Your perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls rest in peace,
Through the mercy of God and His peace. Amen.

It is a Catholic custom and time-honored tradition to consecrate a Mass for a loved one. Mass intentions are an active and a most intimate act of love toward redemption of our souls and the souls of our loved ones. It also displays a trust toward the ministries of the priests to care for our souls.

God bless you,
Fr. Andre Y-Sebastian Mahanna, S.T.L.; S.L.L.;
St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church, Lakewood, Colorado
Office of Evangelization and Catechesis
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, USA.
Pontificio Istituto Liturgico, PIL,
Ateneo Sant Anselmo,
Scienza Liturgica
Piaza degli Cavaglieri Di Malta
Roma, Italia,
39 333 9794070
39 324 6046100
Fr. Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna,
Immeuble Nabih Jabbour, First floor, appt 1,
Kassouba Street, Jbeil (Byblos), Mount Lebanon, Lebanon
961- 9- 942037

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