Caritas Lebanon celebrated the golden jubilee of its foundation
Under the slogan ‘Fifty Years… Of Serving Humanity’ and on the occasion of the golden jubilee, a Divine Liturgy was held in basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon - Harissa.
Patriarch Rahi: With Peter's faith, Caritas achieved miracles
Father Michel Abboud: We can accomplish the history of Caritas together and God does not leave his people
Under the slogan ‘Fifty years … Of Serving Humanity’, Caritas Lebanon celebrated the golden jubilee of its foundation, in a Divine Liturgy presided over by His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, on Sunday, June 26, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon - Harissa, with the presence of official, clergy and media figures.
The ceremony was attended by the representative of the President of the Republic General Michel Aoun, H.E Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, representative of prime minister Najib Mikati, the Minister of the Interior, Bassam Mawlawi, representative of the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, deputy, Farid Heikal Al-Khazen, Minister of Information Ziad Makari, Minister of Tourism Walid Nassar, the representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdallah Bou Habib, counselor Youssef Gabr, representative of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. George Kallas, Counselor Ibrahim Al-Shweiri, representative of the Minister of Justice, Dr. Henry Khoury, Professor Pascal Antoun, representative of the Minister of Administrative Development, Najla Riachi, Ms. Tracy Sakr,
In addition to deputies Michel Moawad, George Akis, Ghassan Hasbani, Jamil Abboud, Rami Abu Hamdan, Razi El Hajj, Pierre Bou Assi, Jimmy Jabbour, Raji Saad, Hagop Terezian, Ghada Ayoub, Melhem Khalaf, Charbel Massad, Firas Salloum, Representative of the dep. Farid Al-Bustani, Ms. Duha Merhej, representative of the dep. Ali Oseiran, Dr. Joseph Matta, representative of the dep. Melhem Riachy, Dr. Hilda Mounir, representative of dep. Ashraf Rifi, General Emile Abu Nader, representative of the dep. Gebran Bassil, Mrs. Mai Khreish, representative of dep. Nicolas Sehnaoui, Mr. Ronald Agouri, the representative of the dep. Edgar Traboulsi, Mr. Jamil Murad, representative of the dep. Elias Jarada Mr. Gerges Jarada, the representative of the dep. Osama Saad, Mr. Wael Kubrasli.
The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Wijiratne Mandis, the Head of the ‘Central Inspection Authority Judge’ George Attieh, the President of the ‘Audit Bureau Judge’ Muhammad Badran, the Head of the ‘Council of the State Government’, Judge Fadi Elias, the prosecutor at the Court of Account’, Judge Fawzi Khamis, the representative of the President of the’ Supreme Judicial Council’ Judge Suhail Abboud, Judge Rodney, President of the ‘Maronite League ‘Khalil Karam, Gen. Director of the ‘Maronite League’, miral Boutros Abi Nasr, President of the ‘Maronite General Council’, Michel Matta, President of the ‘Lebanese University’ Professor Bassam Badran, Director General of TeleLiban Vivian Lebbs, Director General of Roads and Buildings, Mr. Tanios Boulos, Representative of the Director General of the’ Ministry of Environment’, Dr. Burji Hatjian, Ms. Bate Farah, representative of the General Director of ‘Tobacco and Tobacco Inventory Department’, Eng. Nassif Seklaoui, Mr. Milo Ghossein, representative of the Gen. Director of Urban Planning, Eng. Elias Tawil, Eng. Shadi Saliba.
From the military corps, the Director General of Civil Defense, Gen. Raymond Khattar, the representative of the Armed Forces Commander, Gen. Joseph Aoun Gen. Tony Ibrahim, the representative of the Gen. Director of the ‘Public Security’, General director Major Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, Col. Louis Rouhana, the representative of the Director of the’ Lebanese Army Intelligence Branch’ Brig. Gen. Antoine Kahwaji, Col. Elias Salloum, the representative of the Director General of the ‘State Security’, Gen. Imad Osman, Gen. Jihad Asmar, the representative of the General director of ‘State Security’, General Tony Saliba, Col. Labib Saad, the representative of the President of the General Director of Customs, General Asaad Tufaili, consultant Charbel Khalil, representative of the Director of Customs, Mr. Raymond Khoury, Mr. Fadi Bou Gharios, representative of Beirut Governor, Mr. Marwan Abboud, Colonel Haitham Fayad. And among those who attended the ceremony, the Syndicate of Pharmacists Joe Salloum, the Head of the Photographers Syndicate, Ali Alloush, the representative of the Doctors Syndicate, Dr. Youssef Bakhash, Dr. Georges Assaf, the representative of the Lawyers Syndicate Nadir Kaspar, Ms. Christine Azoury, the representative of the Press Syndicate Awni Al-Kaki, Mr. Khalil Khoury, and the representative of the Lebanese Press Editors Syndicate, Joseph Al-Qusifi, the journalist Joseph Mahfoud, The representative of the Syndicate of Engineers, Aref Yassin, Engineer Kamil Hashem, President of the ‘ World Environmental Party’, Dr. Domit Kamel
The mass was presided over by His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi and assisted by the president of Caritas Lebanon, Father Michel Abboud, bishop Samir Mazloum, first president of Caritas, bishop Michel Aoun, supervising the work of the association, bishop Antoine Bou Nejem, and Father Fadi Tabet, director of Our Lady of Lebanon shrine.
Among the official clergies who attended the ceremony , the representative of the Papal Ambassador Monsignor Giuseppe Franconi, Bishop Paul Matar and Bishop Simon Faddoul former Caritas presidents, Bishop Semaan Atallah, representative of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi and representative of Bishop George Bakouni, Father Camille Melhem, representative of Bishop Michel Kassargi, Father Raphael Kobale, representative of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch Raphael Minasin, Bishop Georges Assadorian, former Caritas President Father Elie Madi, Caritas Regional Coordinator Father Roland Mourad, Regional President of the Lazarus Fathers and caritas board member Father Ziad Haddad, Father Rafi Ohannessian, board member of Caritas Lebanon, the General spiritual guide of Caritas, Father Charles Sawaya, the board Directors, heads of regions and departments, volunteers, employees, journalists and media, supporters and friends.
His Beatitude the Patriarch
At the beginning of the service, a welcome speech was presented by the director of the Shrine, Father Fadi Tabet.
During the homily, His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi said: ‘Because of Peter’s faith in Jesus and in His words, he cast the net after a hard night where the disciples went able to catch any fish, the sun had risen and the time was not suitable for fishing.
Peter accepted the challenge of faith and said to Jesus: ‘because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ (Luke 5: 5).
And when they did, the catch of fish was so great.
Let us seek the gift of this faith, to be a light and guidance for our lives, our actions, and our attitudes.”
His beatitude added "Caritas Lebanon accepted the challenge of faith fifty years ago and experienced its unexpected fruits, and here it is growing and expanding in its programs and service to Lebanon….. Following the guidance and strength of faith, Caritas Lebanon, whose golden jubilee we are inaugurating today with this divine liturgy, has walked and achieved miracles. With the strength of this faith, the blessed father Yaacoub Al Kabbouchi, who we are celebrating His feast today, was able to achieve what other countries could not, His Beatitude Rahi added “and was announced by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to be His feast on June 26 of each year, the date of His death in 1954. Let us seek his intercession…..
As Caritas was in the beginning, so it is now and remains a mirror of organization and good management, whose affairs are administered by real messengers who succeeded in carrying its secretariat," noting that through it, "the Church seeks out those in need and strives to give them a more abundant life."
...So let us raise our thanksgiving sermon, in quest of more faith..."
Caritas Lebanon accepted the challenge of faith fifty years ago and experienced its unexpected fruits, and here it is growing and expanding in its programs and services to the expansion of Lebanon. So, let us raise with it this sacrifice of thanksgiving, and seek more faith.
Caritas was established in Sidon in 1972 at the initiative of the Bishops of the South, and the mission of Jesuit brother Elie Maamari, who worked at the beginning with Caritas Germany.
For half a century, Caritas Lebanon has taken its place on the map of social work in Lebanon, as it has been the present and witness church, which has achieved the church's social teaching regarding respect for human dignity and the right to a dignified and free life.
Caritas worked without any discrimination……
It was at the level of the expectations of the church and the citizen, and at the level of trust that it gained with its credibility and transparency from local and foreign donors, governments, international organizations, official and private, and individuals of different affiliations.
Thus, Caritas began to experience the miraculous fishing with the power of faith and love, motivated by awareness of the requirements of each stage, so that it adapts to the needs, without forgetting that the poor are with it at all time
As Caritas was in the beginning, it is now and remains a mirror of organization and good management, whose affairs are managed by real messengers who succeeded in carrying its trust, who lived and lived its spirit, and radiated its spirituality through its programs, structures, regions and various centers, benefactors, volunteers and its youth. Through it, the Church seeks out those in need, and strives to give them life and be more abundant.
And the great test of the miraculous fishing with the power of faith in the word of God, lived by the Blessed Abouna Yaacoub who roamed Lebanon from its coasts to its mountains, planting the word in the hearts of children, youth and people in schools and parishes, especially in preparing children for the first communion that he wanted at an early age, and repeating: "Cultivate the Eucharist is in the hearts of the children, and reap the saints."
"These four remaining months of the mandate's term should be devoted to reducing the percentage of hatred, revenge, maliciousness and judicial police pursuits that Lebanese society is unfamiliar with," the Patriarch said, adding that "they should be devoted to alleviating the suffering of the people, controlling the security situation, neutralizing Lebanon, and reviving the judicial investigation into the port of Beirut crime."
"The remaining months must be devoted to amending the recovery plan, to continue the border negotiations over oil and gas, and especially to elect a new president of the republic as soon as possible to ensure the unity of the Lebanese entity, and to maintain legitimacy, and to anticipate any attempt to create a presidential vacuum which we reject," he underscored.
Patriarch Rahi ended:” We ask God to make the Jubilee of Caritas-Lebanon a season of increasing goodness and blessing, through the intercession of our Mother, the Virgin Mary, the Lady of Lebanon, and the Blessed “Abouna Yaacoub” the son of our country. With an abundance of faith in the word of God, we sing a hymn of glory and thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen.”
Father Michel Abboud
The president of Caritas Lebanon, Father Michel Abboud, thanked the attendees for participating with Caritas on this occasion, he said: “In the footsteps of the cross we follow you, and the secret of your love amazes us…..
Fifty Years and we continue, following Christ, serving Him, and healing His wounds through the poor and needy...
He added:” love is also not only in what we do, but as much as we give love and make others love like the one who loved us and gave himself for us……We gather today, not to talk about the glories of the past, nor what Caritas has achieved, but to thank God on His mercies.
Yes, we live in a difficult unprecedented economic crisis, but we continue further with determination and steadfastness.
Why fear? we went through many wars, we have lost many loved ones, and drowned in the blood of martyrs, and this institution has remained stable and present in the heart of the Church here and in all parts of the world cultivating joy and love.
We will continue the path for which Caritas was founded, we will continue with the guidance and the strength of the Holy Spirit….. Everyone who worked at Caritas knows very well how much he takes and he gives. How happy he felt when he made others rejoice.
We often stand helpless before the tears of mothers and the silence of fathers. They come to us for help, we give what we can, but we are in pain because we are not always able to respond. Yes, the need has become great and we have no strength to meet all needs. But trusting God through giving hearts, motivates us not to worry and fear. God has blessed us with many good things over the years, and we still need you all to be ready for the continuity of work.
The story of Caritas has been written over these years:
With the power of giving to many beneficiaries, inside and outside Lebanon. With the confidence of the donors and their continuation to work with us, with the courage of sacrifice and free service among volunteers, with the ethics of work and commitment of the employees, with the wisdom of supervisors, superiors, officials and administrators, the dignity of the youth, and we shall continue.
The Divine Liturgy was served by the Caritas Youth Choir, prayers were raised and symbolic offerings were made representing the services of Caritas department: Health, Education, Social, Migrants, Livelihood, and Social Enterprises
At the end of the service, Caritas Launched its new Anthem “Serti Enti l Eid” clip written by Dr. Antoine Saad, composed by Joseph Khalifa, distributed by Kamal Seikli, prepared and directed by Elie Atallah, supervised by Father Charles Sawaya.