Tag Archives: Patriarch Béshara Raï

Maronite Bishop admonishes Obama for rebuff of Patriarch Béshara Raï

Béshara Raï, 71, is making a pastoral visit to the Maronite Catholic
communities in both US eparchies from 4 to 23 October 2011. His Beatitude will visit Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon  and the Eparchy of St Maron of Brooklyn.

President Barack Obama has roundly refused to meet the Patriarch. Bishop Gregory openly makes the case that it is a mistake of the current administration to ignore His Beatitude’s visit to the USA.

Béshara Raï, was elected on March 15, 2011 as the 77th Patriarch of the Maronite Church.

Bishop Gregory’s letter:

Patriarch Rai2.jpg

September 30, 2011

Dear Mr. President:

I am terribly
disappointed with the rebuff of Patriarch Bechara Peter Rai who is the Catholic
leader of the Maronites worldwide and one of the most respected Christian
leaders in Lebanon and the Middle East . The motto of his coat of arms
reflects his personality and is call for “communion and love.” He has been
trying to achieve what no other Middle Eastern political or a religious leader
has been able to do: meet others with respect and love, not take sides,
and build bridges to a future that will hopefully lead to peace and happiness
for all people in the Middle East.

Muslim and Christian groups have all found
in him a real father, a Patriarch.  Because he has spoken out expressing
his concern for the future of Christians in the Middle East , he has been
rebuffed by you and your Administration. It is pure hypocrisy for the
leader of the free world to refuse to meet with Patriarch Rai especially since
the Prime Minister of Israel can come and completely disregard essential parts
of a peace plan and still be given a warm welcome, and the King of Saudi
Arabia, where Christians have no freedom whatsoever, can be received with highest
honors. Mr. President, you are ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle

Patriarch Rai’s warning about the future of Christians in Syria is not
taboo. Christians are in a state of peril in the same way that Christians of
Iraq were a few years ago when two thirds of them migrated out of the country
and are still not protected to this day. To say the Patriarch supports
dictators and sides with terrorists is pure nonsense. With his own unique
charisma, Patriarch Rai has reached out to all Lebanese with whom he has to
live side-by-side. It is a beautiful outreach, one that is uniquely his,
without having to be beholden to anyone.  He speaks with love and tempers
the divisive, hateful talk of many. He gives hope

A new day is dawning in the
Middle East. The Arab Spring is happening with little vision for the
summer that will ensue.  Mr. President, you do not have to agree on
everything with Patriarch Rai, but there is no need to avoid or rebuff
him.  By doing so, you are showing your disrespect for him and for all
Christians of the Middle East.

Mansour, Gregory John.jpg+ Gregory J Mansour

Bishop of the Eparchy of
Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Patriarch Béshara Raï begins new ministry as the Maronite head and father working on unity

Sfeir & Rai March 25 2011.jpg

In his letter to the new Patriarch, granting “ecclesiastica communio”, Pope Benedict prayed that Patriarch Béchara Peter would be assisted by the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fervent in his teaching of the faith; the Pope also said “It is a motive of pride for your Church to be united from the beginning to the Successor of Peter. Peter was called by Jesus to preserver the unity of his one Church in truth and in love. Following a beautiful and ancient tradition, Peter’s name is added to the patriarch’s”
Pope Benedict’s fraternal support was echoed in his hope that the Patriarch had “all the ardor, illumined by wisdom and tempered by prudence, to guide the Maronite Church.”
The Maronite Church was established by Saint Maron having lived in the 4th and 5th centuries. Patriarch Béchara Peter is the 77th father of a Church of 3 million people worldwide. Besides the Middle East, Maronites are present in Western Europe, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, the United States of America, and Canada.

The video of Patriarch Béchara Peter Raï’s enthronement Liturgy on March 25, 2011.

Digging back into TV history, Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa of EWTN talks with the US Maronite Bishops Gregory Mansour and Robert Shaheen about the role of the Maronite Church in the overall unity of the Catholic Church. Father Pacwa gives a sense of Maronite spirituality. Watch the show.

Béshara Raï elected new Maronite Patriarch

Beshara Rai.jpegOnly 20 years junior to the out-going patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, the Maronite bishops elected today Bishop Béshara Raï, 71, as the new patriarch. He’s  77th patriarch of the Maronites; Raï takes up the See of St Peter (Peter’s first diocese before moving to Rome), adopting the name Peter. He will be known as “His Beatitude, Patriarch Béshara Peter Raï.

He succeeds Patriarch Sfeir after his 25 years of service. It is expected that Patriarch Béshara Peter will be enthroned on 25 March.
I am happy for His Beatitude’s new opportunity to serve the Church. I met him a number of years ago and he’s a wonderful person.
His Beatitude has been a priest for 43 years and a bishop for nearly 25 years and since 1990 he’s been bishop of Jbeil (Byblos). In Lebanon, the Maronite Christians number about a third of the 4 million population.

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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