The Maronite Church, an Eastern Catholic Church, with her own hierarchy, is composed of a Patriarch who is Her father and head, and over forty Bishops who shepherd the many Eparchies (Dioceses) in Lebanon, the Middle East and throughout the world. The Patriarch governs the Church in a synodal manner with his body of bishops as is customary in the Eastern Churches. They are in full communion with the Pope, the Successor of Saint Peter in Rome.
Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi was born in Himlaya, Matn District, Lebanon on 25 February 1940. He attended College Notre-Dame de Jamhour, a Jesuit school in Lebanon. He entered into the Mariamite Maronite Order on July 31, 1962 and he was ordained as a priest on 3 September 1967. From 1967 to 1975 he was responsible for the Arabic language transmissions of Vatican Radio.. In 1975 he was awarded a PhD in canon and civil law. He also studied for three years in the Lateran University in Rome. He was consecrated as auxiliary Bishop of Antioch on 12 July 1986, by Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir and on June 9, 1990, appointed Bishop of Byblos. In 2003 he was elected Secretary of the Maronite Synod, and in 2009 he was appointed President of the Lebanese Episcopal Commission for the Media. In 2007 he received the award of the National Order of the Cedar. At age 71, he was elected Patriach of the Maronites on March 15, 2011, after getting more than two-thirds of the votes of the 39 bishops. The Mass for the inauguration of his patriarchate will be on March 25, 2011, in Bkerké, held the See of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate. As is custom for all Maronite patriarchs Rahi took the additional name Boutrous (Peter), who briefly held the see of Antioch before moving to Rome to become bishop there.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi was created a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in a consistory on 24 November 2012. Patriarch al-Rahi is the fourth Maronite Patriarch created cardinal, the first three being his three immediate predecessors Paul Peter Meouchi, Anthony Peter Khoraish, and Nasrallah Sfeir.
On 31 January 2013, Cardinal Patriarch al-Rahi was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
In February 2013, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Patriarch Rai, being a Cardinal, participated as a cardinal elector in the conclave that elected Pope Francis. Cardinal Rai was one of four cardinal-electors from outside the Latin Church who wore distinct vestments proper to their respective churches. The other three cardinal-electors from outside the Latin Church were Coptic Catholic Patriarch-Emeritus Antonios Naguib, Syro Malabar Major Archbishop George Alencherry, and Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis. Cardinal Rai's attire during the opening day was distinct from most of the other electors in that he wore all-red vestments with distinct headgear proper to the Maronite Church. Cardinal Rai is also the first Maronite Cardinal Patriarch ever to participate in a papal conclave.
On March 18, 2015 Cardinal-Patriarch al-Rahi became the sole cardinal-elector from the order of cardinal-bishops when Cardinal Naguib turned 80 and ceased to be a cardinal-elector. He remained the sole cardinal-bishop elector until June 28, 2018 when four Latin church cardinal-priests of voting age were elevated by Pope Francis to cardinal-bishop by having their titular churches co-opted to suburbicarian rank and Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church was created a cardinal-patriarch.
The Most Reverend Gregory John Mansour was born in Flint, Michigan, on November 11, 1955, the eldest of six children of George and the late Gloria (Farhat) Mansour. His ancestors trace their Catholic heritage from Ehden, Tibneen, and Damour Lebanon, from Nazareth, Palestine (now Israel), and from Damascus, Syria. He attended Holy Rosary High School in Flint, Michigan from 1969 to 1973. He received an Associate of Arts Degree in 1975 from Mott Community College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education from Western Michigan University in 1977.
He entered Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 1977 and attended the Catholic University of America. In 1981 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theological Studies (S.T.B.). On September 18, 1982 he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop John Chedid at St. Michael Church in Flint, Michigan, and celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Parish there. After studying at the Gregorian Pontifical Institute in Rome, Italy he completed his License in Spiritual Theology (S.T.L.) in 1983, and spent six weeks in Lebanon.
Fr. Mansour’s first assignment in 1983 was as temporary administrator of St. Maron Parish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for six weeks. In October of 1983 he became Adhministrator, then Pastor, of St. George Maronite Catholic Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He enjoyed his eleven years there and established lasting relationships among the parishioners and within the community. In 1994 His Excellency Bishop John Chedid, first Bishop of the newly erected Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles asked him to serve as the Eparchy’s Protosyncellus (Vicar General) and Chancellor. Between 1994 and 2001 he also served as Advocate/Procurator for the Eparchial Marriage Tribunal.
In 1995 he was nominated to Chorbishop by His Beatitude Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir and was ordained on January 21, 1996 by Bishop John Chedid. Between 1998 and 2001 he attended U.C.L.A. as a graduate student in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures program.
When Pope John Paul II accepted the retirement of Bishop Chedid he named Bishop Robert J. Shaheen to succeed him. Bishop Shaheen, with permission of the Holy See, changed the See of the Diocese from Los Angeles, California to St. Louis, Missouri. This resulted in a change for Chorbishop Mansour as well. At the request of Bishop Shaheen he relocated to St. Louis, remaining in his post as Protosyncellus and Chancellor of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, and assuming the additional role as rector of St. Raymond Cathedral in March, 2001.
In St. Louis, Bishop Mansour also taught Spiritual Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. His way of life revealed to parishioners and peers the words of St. Augustine who said, “With you I am a Christian, for you I am(a priest, and now) a Bishop”.
On January 10, 2004, after accepting the retirement of Bishop Stephen Hector Doueihi , His Holiness Pope John Paul II named Bishop Gregory John Mansour to succeed him as third Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn. On March 2, 2004 Bishop Gregory was ordained in Lebanon by His Beatitude and Eminence Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, and on April 27, 2004 was enthroned in Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.
Father Simon El Hajj was born in Beirut, April 1980. He is from Rmeich South Lebanon, and was raised in Bourjhammoud and belonged to St. Joseph church. Since he was 9 years old, he began his journey in the organizations in the church as a member of Fursan Al Azraa, then a president of Talaeh ElAzraa, the young adults of Mary.
Father Simon was regional president for Fursan El Azraa in Maten l sehil, and a consultant for same organization all over Lebanon. He was trained by World Vision organization to work with children early 1998. He volunteered for the same organization for over 5 years.
Father Simon became a trainer for all new chiefs who wanted to work with children ages 6 to 14. In 2005, father Simon entered Patriarchal seminary in Ghazir to prepare his journey toward the priesthood.
Ordinations: Sub-deacon in December 2009. Deacon on May 2, 2010. Priesthood on August 15, 2010.
Father Simon came to the U.S. December 2010 as a parochial vicar in Our Lady of Victory in Pittsburgh.
In September 2011, he was assigned as an administrator to the Maronite Community of Aliquippa.
Father Simon worked to elevate the community to a Mission in June 2012, and moved the church to Darlington, PA.
On October 1, 2014 Father Simon was assigned as a Pastor of Our Lady of Lebanon, Easton PA.
On June 1, 2018 Father Simon was assigned as a Pastor of Saint Sharbel Church, Somerset, NJ.
He is member of the vocation team in the Eparchy, and Protopresbyter of MidAtlantic East.
B.A. in Social sciences from Lebanese university Rabieh.
S.T.B.(Pontifical degree) in philosophy and theology from USEK University Jounieh.
M.S. in Leadership concentration in Professional Administration from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA
Post graduate certificate in Spiritual direction and Leadership from Pittsburgh, PA
Post graduate certificate in Pastoral management and leadership, Pittsburgh, PA
PhD student in Organizational Development and Leadership, Philadelphia, PA
Joseph Chebli was born on June 21, 1970 in Lebanon, to Edgard and Sonia Chebli. He is the eldest of 2 siblings, the late Alain (1975-2007), and the youngest Dani (29). Joseph attended school at College St. Joseph Antoura, pere Lazarite, Lebanon (1974-1986). He then entered L’ Universite Libanaise, Faculte de Medecine, however, the political situation and the war in Lebanon at the time had forced Joseph to seek his higher education in the United States. In 1989 he entered the US and began his studies at St. John’s University, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health in New York. In 1995 Joseph graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. During his college years, Joseph met Elizabeth Michael, a classmate also studying Pharmacy. In September 1996, Elizabeth is wedded to Joseph, and in 2004, God blessed Joseph and Elizabeth with an adopted child, Catherine Therese. In 2011 he completed his Master of Arts in Systematic Theology at Seton Hall University-Immaculate Conception Seminary, and in 2013 his Doctorate of Pharmacy at Shenanadoah University.
He currently oversees the Arabic School, as well as directs and advises the Catechists in the religious program at St. Sharbel. Joseph’s professional occupation is a Director of Medical and Scientific Services at the Med Learning Group in NYC. In addition he is also a Adjunct Assistant Professor of Moral & Spiritual Dimension of Health Care at Felician College. Previously he was a Consultant Clinical Pharmacist at Woodbridge Developmental Center an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled in Woodbridge, and NJ Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park. He served on multi-disciplinary teams for the health benefit and social interest of the disabled and geriatric residents in his facility. Joseph is also a member of the American Association on the Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD, formally AAMR), a member of the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the American Medical Writer Association.
Joseph was ordained to the Minor Orders of Cantor, Lector and Subdeacon for the Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn, NY on March 25, 2007, Feast of the Annunciation. He was then ordained to the Diaconate on October 11, 2015, Feast of St Philip the Deacon.
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