Maronite Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, based in St. Louis, is calling for a day of prayer and fasting Saturday, Aug. 8, to pray for Lebanon and the people affected by a massive explosion in Beirut Aug. 4.
Bishop Zaidan said he issued the day of prayer in communion with Cardinal Bechara Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Synod of Maronite Bishops.
“I call for a day of prayer and fasting for the intention of the wounded Lebanon, the mission country. Please pray for the victims and their families, the wounded, all those who have suffered losses and most of all for peace to return to our beloved homeland,” Bishop Zaidan stated.
The explosion at the seaport in Beirut left destruction in the streets, neighborhoods and homes, with hundreds killed and thousands injured, Cardinal Rai reported in his letter appealing for aid. He stated that hospitals, places of worship, residences, public and private institutions, hotels, shopping malls and stores have been totally or partially destroyed, and it comes at a time when the country is in financial ruin.
Bishop Zaidan asked people to:
• Support Church organizations such as Caritas Lebanon at www.caritaslebanon.org
• Visit the eparchy website to make an online donation with the memo: charity/support Lebanon at www.eparchy.org/donate
Any donations will go to help the neediest in Lebanon, the homeland of Maronite Catholics. Lebanon already was struggling with other issues, and Bishop Zaidan had appealed to people to help in a letter on July 23. “Now, with the recent blast in Beirut, Lebanon needs our help more than ever, it is critical to lend our assistance,” he wrote, adding the need to “keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers.”
Maronite Catholics in St. Louis attend St. Raymond Maronite Cathedral Downtown or St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Crestwood. Father John Nahal is the pastor of St. Raymond and the parish partnership at St. Elizabeth, serving a greater community by continuing to offer Roman Catholic Latin Rite Masses along with Catholic Maronite Rite Masses in Crestwood.
The history of the Maronite Church is rooted in the Middle East. Throughout their history, Maronites have immigrated to other parts of the world. Their common language was Aramaic, the same language spoken by Jesus. Aramaic is still used by the Maronites in various hymns and parts of the Mass. Though with its own liturgical heritage, the rite is in full union with the Holy See and the pope.