Tag Archives: Nicholas J. Samra

Apostles’ Fast 2013

Ss Peter and Paul coptic.jpeg

Recently on the Sunday of All Saints (26 May 2013) –the Byzantine Church observes a different feast of All Saints than do the Latin Christians– the Eparch (the Greek word for bishop) of the Melkites in the in the USA, Bishop Nicholas James Samra wrote to his people about preparing for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Yes, some Catholics do make preparations for other feasts!

One of the reasons I am drawing our attention to this matter is two-fold: 1.) being Catholic is more than merely following the Latin Church’s disciple — we can learn from others; and 2.) the discipline of those who belong to Christ is more than merely praying, fasting, and almsgiving for selfish reasons, that is, these spiritual activities are to break open our spiritual capacities. Remember what John Paul taught: Christians breathe with two lungs.

The liturgical feast of Ss. Peter and Paul is traditionally preceded by a period of concerted prayer and fasting. These saints –indeed, all of the apostles– are the pillars of our Church. In times past the period of fasting was significant while today it is much modified. The controlling idea is that before an important feast of the Lord, the Mother of God and some saints, the faithful are encouraged to prepare themselves to receive God’s graces in a worthy manner. We prepare by getting rid of sin and living virtuously: corporal and spiritual works of mercy are good things to do.

Bishop Nicholas recalls for us that the Monday after Sunday of All Saints the Byzantine Church begins a time of prayer and fasting leading us to the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on 29 June.  But now the preparation is modified to 10 days by the Melkite Synod of Bishops. Fittingly, the bishop notes: “We are given this “Apostles Fast” in order to fan into flame the grace of the Holy Spirit within us and to reflect upon the hardships endured by the Apostles as they preached Divine grace and truth to the world.”

Faith needs to be connected with reality. This is the context in which God acts. Several things in our own lives can and ought to be connected with life. Bishop Nicholas indicates that one good way to extrovert our faith by having some sense human ecology on the spiritual level is remember those suffering the effects of the war in Syria. Certainly, we pray for all but special attention to be paid to the Catholics and Orthodox peoples.

Hence, the proposal is to begin our spiritual discipline on June 19. I recommend that you make a confession of sin and receive Holy Communion, pray for the Pope’s intention for June, and name the intentions. Select a charitable organization to to make a donation of funds.

Perhaps we can also use the Apostles’ Fast to pray for those living with cancer. I am thinking of my friend Jesuit Father Edward Oakes who is in need of a miracle due to his recent diagnosis of Type 4 pancreatic and liver cancer.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Melkite and Maronite Churches begin Lent today

Transfiguration of Christ PPerugino.jpgThe Byzantine Catholic Church, along with the Maronite
Church, begin the Lenten observance. The Byzantines call today Clean Monday,
the first day of the Great Fast. Maronites call today “Ash Monday.” The
Byzantine Orthodox Church will open their Lent on Monday, February 27.

The Latin Church begins her Lent on Wednesday, 22 February.

the Byzantines the traditional liturgical practice is to celebrate Great
Compline, which will include the singing of a portion of the Great Canon of
Saint Andrew of Crete. Find a Melkite parish near you to celebrate
Compline tonight.

Read more ...

Melkite bishop explores ordaining married men, again

News seems to be made about a Catholic married clergy in the USA, at least among the Eastern churches. It’s not new news but it is an interesting development in the USA that needs insight and pastoral action. The new bishop of the Melkite Church in the USA, Bishop Nicholas Samra (btw the first American born leader of the eparchy), spoke of the need of having a properly formed clergy to pastor the 27,000+ souls of the Melkite Church in the USA, even ordaining married men. In the coming year there may be one celibate man ordained.

This is not the first time the Melkite Church is doing such. More than 3 decades ago several married men were ordained in Canada but judged by the Holy See to be illicit; the former eparch Bishop John Elya ordained 2 married men and his hand was slapped.
In the western world married clergy is not viewed by the Holy See to be pertinent whereas in the old world, married men serve as priests. This carries the old prejudice of Archbishop John Ireland who demanded a celibate clergy of the Eastern Churches; his unreasonable proposition helped create the Ruthenian Orthodox Church in the USA.  With the Eastern Catholic Churches it is part of their venerable ecclesiology to ordain married men to the priesthood. On a pastor’s side, the needs of the laity to follow their traditions. Looking at reality in front of him, there is a demonstrable need for Samra (and other Eastern Churches in the USA) to provide a clergy for his people. The eparchy doesn’t have enough single men willing to do the work, nor does it seem reasonable to hope beyond all hope for an exclusive celibate priesthood. The gospel needs to be proclaimed and sacraments administered for our salvation.
Pray to great Mother of God and Saint Nicholas for the grace of prudence for Bishop Nicholas!
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St Ann Melkite Church of Waterford, CT hosting a Middle Eastern festival

I recommend this festival for good food and fun. Instead of Archbishop Cyril, the new bishop of the Melkites, Bishop Nicholas J. Samra will be there.

Mahrajan at St Ann's Church Waterford, 2011 JPG.jpg

Nicholas James Samra: New eparch of Newton for the Melkites

Nicholas J. Samra.jpegThe Holy Father, upon the recommendation of the Melkite Synod, has given his assent to election of the Most Reverend Nicholas James Samra as the new Eparch of Newton for the Melkites. Bishop Nicholas, 67, has been the auxiliary of the same. Bishop Nicholas replaces Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros who has been elected the Metropolitan of Beruit and Jbeil.

The Eparchy of Newton covers the entire country; it was founded in 1966 and erected as an eparchy in 1976. According to 2009 stats the Eparchy has 26,700 faithful.
I have known Sayedna Nicholas for years and this is a terrific choice for the Eparchy!!!
Bishop Nicholas is the first native born to be the Father of the Eparchy!
God grant him many years!!!!!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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