Anniversary Celebration in Lebanon

Wednesday, 09 April 2008 11:06

For the 40th anniversary of our presence in Sin el Fil, Lebanon (1968-2008) and the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Church and Friary dedicated to St. Anthony (1988-2008), the Coventual community of Lebanon, together with their friends, many benefactors, and faithful, celebrated by giving thanks to the Lord for all His blessings.

With the Minister General, Friar Marco Tasca, present along with the Assistant General for CIMP, Friar Valentín Redondo, the Friars of the Delegation of the Middle East gathered for a thanksgiving Eucharist on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5.30 PM in the Church of St. Anthony in Sin el Fil, Lebanon. In a church decorated for the feast, a great number of the faithful gathered with two Bishops and a crowd of priests from the Franciscan Family and various parishes of various Rites.

During the Eucharist, presided over by the Minister General, besides the bread and wine brought forward for the offertory, there was also the first grey habit of Friar Maximilian Chilin, the first among our presence in the land of the cedars, a plastic model of the Friary and Church brought forward by Friar Jalil Hadaya and the architect of the project, the old bell burnt from the various attacks, and a real bomb (already detonated of course!): a sign of our presence as Conventual Franciscan  Friars in this blood soaked land of civil war (1975-1990) and of the continual faith we live amidst political and economic instability, but also a sign of our faith and our hope in the Lord and His Providence.

At the end of the religious observances, Friar Marco Tasca, in the name of the Order, presented the first generation of Friars (Friars Maximilian and Jalil) a sign of recognition for the cost of bringing our presence into the Middle East. Then the whole group went to the “Father Kolbe” meeting hall for an overview of these 40 years of presence, with various speeches, good refreshments and the cutting of the traditional cake.

Established at Sin el Fil, the community now numbers seven Friars – of different ages and Provinces – called to open themselves to new horizons. On this theme, a window has opened with the project of a second Friary at Zahlé (Bekaa) intended to receive local vocations. The construction is going well… the harvest is always abundant with the Lord, but the laborers are few… the East calls… let us respond together, brothers.

Many more years of presence in Lebanon and the Middle East!

Friar Roger Kouyoumdji