Melkite Greek Catholic Church

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The Holy Nativity of Christ 2019

My Dear Clergy and Laity across America,

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Since you are the God of Peace and the Father all-merciful, O Lover of mankind, you sent us the Messenger of Great Counsel to grant us your peace. Led to the light of your divine knowledge, we keep watch in the night before You, and we sing to you a hymn of glory, O Lover of mankind!
(Ode 5 Canon of Nativity)

Long before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; … and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). When the prophesy came to pass and Jesus was born, the angels declared: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

Even before his resurrection Jesus renewed this promise, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27)

Looking at our world today we see the lack of peace in so many places. Wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and in many African countries and with the involvement of our own country in a number of these areas. A new lack of peace has now escalated in Lebanon with anti-government demonstrations as well as in Palestine and Israel and Iran. Christianity is deteriorating throughout the Middle East, the homeland of our Melkite Church. Our prayers are needed more and more for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

Peace is at the heart of the Christian faith. We can not find it in the pleasure of our war-torn world. The source of perfect peace is only found in the One made flesh &emdash; God and man &emdash; Jesus Christ born in poverty in Bethlehem. He took on our humanity to share with us his divinity. We need to proclaim to our world: Peace comes from Jesus Christ.

St. Paul tells us: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). When I am at peace with God, I am at peace with myself. Peace is not the absence of problems &emph; rather, it is the harmony and peace we enjoy internally. Jesus is Emmanuel &endash; God with us. In turmoil an amid problems his presence brings a sense of peace. He guides, He forgives, He comforts and He grants us confidence to overcome adversities.

Like him we offer forgiveness, guidance and comfort to others. We may not be the ones to change the entire world but we can begin by being people of peace as St. Paul tells us “live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

I am grateful for my clergy: priests, deacons, sub-deacons, readers and to our two sisters for their continual service given so abundantly and peacefully as they assist me in my ministry. I am grateful for all those who extend themselves in each parish to serve in many parish ministries. I am grateful to all the laity &emdash; for your support of your local parish and for this blessed Eparchy uniting all Melkites. May the peace of Christ remain with all of us.

Our God is the God of peace! as fervently the God-man Jesus Christ, reborn daily in our lives, to look on his world and fill the hears and minds of all with his peace.

I greet you in joy an beg you all to be people of peace. I keep you in prayer and ask that the prince of Peace bless you.

With my love and prayers, I remain,

Sincerely in Christ God,

✠ Most Reverend Nicholas Samra

Eparchial Bishop of Newton

Apostolic Administrator of Melkites in Mexico

 

There is much debate today about Homosexuality and the Bible.  People from all walks of life, from school teachers to newscastors, all seem to have an opinion about the subject.  There is, however, a remarkable ignorance among many about what the Bible actually says on the subject.  In this lecture, Fr. Sebastian Carnazzo, PhD (Biblical Studies), carefully examines the Old and New Testament reference to Homosexuality and provides insightful and scholarly commentary along the way.  What you will learn may surprise you, for, "Such Were Some of You."


Video and Study Guide courtesy of The Liberty Institute for Faith and Ethics.

 

Arabic translation (PDF, 2 pages, 240KB)

Holy and Glorious Pascha 2019

My Dear Clergy and Faithful,

“Today is the day of Resurrection: let us glory in this feast and embrace one another. O brethren, let us say: ‘Because of the Resurrection we forgive all things to those who hate us’. And let us all sing together: ‘Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life.’

Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

This Hymn is sung at the end of Orthros on Pascha and throughout the forty days thereafter. It is a stark reminder that there are still “those who hate us.” Sadly, our world is filled with hatred among nations, among politicians, among radical religious groups, and even among brothers and sisters in families, and between parents and children. Our Christian faith and beliefs are under attack, particularly regarding the life issues, as well as sexual morality.  So many people have not been touched by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who proclaims, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

Jesus came to “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). He came to remake life and add to it a quality it never had before.  The new life of Jesus is “eternal life”, not just life that lasts forever, but rather eternal life—a participation in the life which God lives. He invites us to enter into the very divine life of God Himself.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the proclamation that eternal life exists. Being raised from the dead, Jesus assures us that whoever lives without God EXISTS, but does not truly LIVE.  For we do not know what real life is until we rise with Christ on this great feast and every day of our life.  As St. Paul says: “It is no long I who live, but Christ who LIVES in me” (Galatians 2:20).

The Resurrection of Jesus is not just His personal survival after death; it is that and much more.  His resurrection means the beginning of a new era for the human race. God entered history and acted to defeat and overcome the power of evil.  He healed the sick, released the possessed from bondage, and converted sinners. The Resurrection proclaims new hope for all of us: as Jesus served, we are to serve; as Jesus loved, we are to love; as Jesus forgave, we are to forgive, and, indeed, as the opening hymn says, “we forgive all things even to those who hate us.”

Christ destroys evil and death and is victorious. We too are victorious since He lives in us.  With St. Paul we shout out, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin… but thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)!

Christ offers us victory over self.  For victory to have meaning we must begin with ourselves.  Many church-going Christians are not victorious but defeated – Christians in name only.  They have a form of religion but not its power.  For them life is self-centered, never making a total commitment to Christ.  The resurrection of Christ is our victory, our renewal, our rising from our sins to new life. Our faith in Christ’s resurrection is not an escape from reality, but rather victory. We do not run away from sinfulness, but we conquer it through Christ who said, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

As your bishop, I exhort you on this Feast of feasts to strengthen your Christian commitment in prayer, in service to each other, and to remain strong witnesses within your parish communities and in the Church in general.  Speak up for human rights from conception to natural death.  Oppose those who uphold evils contrary to our Christian faith.  Be a resurrection person committed to life.

I pray for all of you and most especially during this resurrection season. May you be at peace with each other, and may we all rise from sin and embrace one another in joy as we proclaim: Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,

✠ Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra

Eparchial Bishop of Newton

 
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CLICK HERE TO READ IN ARABIC
The Holy Nativity of Christ 2018
Dear Clergy and Laity across America,
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
“O little Child lying in a manger, by means of a star, heaven has called and led to You the Magi, the first fruits of the Gentiles who were astounded to behold, not scepters and thrones, but extreme poverty. What indeed is lower than a cave? What is humbler than swaddling clothes – and yet the splendor of Your divinity shone forth in them resplendently. O Lord, glory to You!” (Hypacoi of the Nativity)
Scripture scholars tell us the Magi came from far away. They were filled with a desire to find someone for whom their restless hearts and minds yearned. “…the Magi came to Bethlehem, going into the house they saw the Child with Mary His Mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him” (Mt 2:11). They encountered Jesus. They were probably surprised because, instead of a palace, they encountered Jesus, the new-born King, in a poor house, maybe even the cave, enthroned in the arms of a young girl and not surrounded by regal attendants. Encounter with Jesus: isn’t this the meaning of Christmas? Isn’t this the meaning and reason of our life’s journey? To encounter Jesus more and more, to know Him better, to love Him more, to imitate His example, and to fulfill His will. Like the Magi we are always seeking Jesus. We find Him in the Church and within each other. God manifests Himself through the Mysteries of the Church – we especially encounter Him in the Eucharist and we become what we eat – the Body of Christ. We fall down like the Magi and worship Him. We become one with Him in adoration, peace, and love. I offer my prayer for you:
  • With faith, the Magi set out on their journey to seek Jesus. May all in the Church be guided by faith on their journey through life.
  • With courage, the Magi followed the star that pointed out Jesus. May those who labor for peace, justice, and an end to war and terrorism not lose courage in their efforts.
  • With patience, the Magi endured challenges and discomforts on their journey to Jesus. May the sick, the suffering, the grieving and lonely, the poor and the elderly, the marginalized, the addicted, and those out of work be patient and filled with hope in their trials.
  • With longing, the Magi left all to encounter Jesus. May priests and religious and those being called to these vocations be generous in leaving all to serve Him in His Church.
  • With hope, the Magi sought for Jesus. May families find Jesus in one another by their mutual love, understanding, and respect.
  • With awe, the Magi adored Jesus. May we find and worship Him in the manifestations of God in the flesh.
  • With humility, the Magi were blessed by Jesus. May He bless us this Christmas and Theophany with an answer to the needs and intentions we bring before Him.
  • Like the Magi may each and every one of us encounter Jesus as we celebrate His birth each day of our life. I offer my love, prayers, good wishes, and blessings, and my greetings for a blessed and healthy New Year 2019. Sincerely yours in Christ God,
    ✠ Nicholas The Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra Eparchial Bishop of Newton Apostolic Administrator of Melkites in Mexico
 
Christ is among us! He is and always will be! My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, “Even as you wish men to do to you, so also do you in return.” “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” In these two beautiful commandments of Our Lord in today's Gospel, Christ our God reveals to us the way He wants His disciples to live in this world; He sets out for us the Christian way of living. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and “be merciful, as your Father is merciful.” To be a follower of Jesus is to imitate our heavenly Father who is rich in mercy--to act even as God acts! Indeed, “Christianity,” in the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, “is an imitation of the Divine Nature.” When we received baptism and chrismation, we were renewed and anointed--we were Christened--made into to other “Christs”. We put off the “old man”, and we put on Christ. St. Gregory the Theologian said: “Be as God to the unfortunate, by imitating the mercy of God. For in nothing do we draw so close to God as in doing good to one another.” What a noble and lofty calling we are given in Holy Baptism. What does it mean to be a merciful person? St. Peter of Damascus offers us the following description: “The merciful man is he who gives to others what he has himself received from God—whether it be money, or food, or strength, a helpful word, a prayer, or anything else that he has through which he can express his compassion...” The merciful man is one who, in the words of today’s Gospel, does good without expecting a reward. In our secular culture today it is “every man for himself,” and our technology bombards us from morning till night with alluring messages that tell us we deserve the best of everything, that we should get all we can get before some else gets it, and that we constantly need more and better material things in order to be happy. Yet, in the midst of this materialism and consumerism, our Lord sets before us a clear choice: do we live the lifestyle of sinners according to the sensible standards and secular priorities of this world, or do we live according to the commandments of God? Do we love only those who love us; curse those who curse us; and lend only to those from whom we will receive a substantial return? Or, do we love our enemies; give to everyone who asks us; and bless those who curse us? But perhaps we think this standard is out of our reach or too difficult for us to attain. In today’s Epistle, the Lord reminds us that “My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is made perfect in weakness.” Christ became one of us, so that He could show us how to live a Godly life. He has become the standard by which He calls us to live, and He has sent us His Holy Spirit to become for us strength in our weakness. Jesus is the mercy of our heavenly Father, and He bids us to imitate Him. And so, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I come to you today, as we begin, once again, our annual Bishop’s Appeal, in the spirit of Jesus’ powerful words—“be merciful even as your Father is merciful”—to plead for your mercy. I appeal to you for your generous, financial support of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church in America. I come to you with gratitude for your past generosity. Last year so many of you responded to our appeal without hesitation and with increased generosity: you gave more than you had ever given before! Thank God, we received over $310,000 in donations to meet the needs of our Melkite Church in America, with only 1,456 of our nearly 12,000 parishioners participating. Moreover, my heart overflows with gratitude because, in addition to your donations to the Bishop’s Appeal last year, you also responded with generosity to our urgent appeal for aid to our brothers and sisters who are devastated by the civil war in Syria, and you gave almost $120,000 to our Patriarchate for Syrian relief. This is truly a testament to your fidelity to Jesus’ call to give without expecting any return. Now, as our brothers and sisters, especially in Syria and Egypt, continue to experience the ravages of war, hatred, and persecution, I come again with hand outstretched to ask for your support for the important works of our Church. Because of the grave needs of our people and in response to the call of His Beatitude, our Patriarch Gregorios III, I have decided to send a tithe, or ten percent, of all the funds raised in this year’s Bishop’s Appeal for the relief of the suffering Syrian people. And I ask you to look upon the needs of our Melkite brothers and sisters as your own needs and to respond again with a merciful and generous heart. Please know that your gifts are used very prudently to support the important works of our Eparchy and to assure its future growth. Last year, donations to the Bishop’s Appeal helped to subsidize the cost of the publication and mailing of SOPHIA magazine; to aid our mission churches in need; and to fund religious education, youth ministry, and deacon formation—all essential works for the future of our Church in America. In addition, because of your generous gifts, we were able to assist our elderly priests, and give assistance to struggling parishes and missions. My fellow Melkites, it is not an exaggeration to say that without your support of our annual Bishop’s Appeal our Melkite Eparchy would not be able to meet its financial commitments. That is why I appeal to you today, as the Father of our Melkite family in America: we need every member of our family to take financial responsibility for the works of our Eparchy. I ask you to make the support of our Church a priority in your charitable giving. Each year, we ask every Melkite household in America to consider it their duty to give at least $100 annually to the Bishop’s Appeal for the needs of our Church. To each of you, I say with Saint Paul: “give according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:3), and “glorify God by the generosity of your contribution” (2 Corinthians 9:13). I am very much aware that these times can be economically challenging and that our economic future may seem uncertain. Yet, I am also very much aware that we, in this great country of ours, enjoy tremendous blessings especially in comparison to so many who suffer in the Middle East and around the world. And so, I humbly ask you not to act like sinners who give only when they are guaranteed a good return on their investment, but to live like Christ, who gives freely, abundantly, without counting the cost. After all, “what have we that we have not received?” What we possess is not ours—it is on loan from God. We are but stewards of God’s gifts. And so, dear friends in Christ, as you consider your response to my letter of appeal you will receive at home, I ask you to take a few moments in prayer to reflect upon the tremendous mercy our Father has shown to you and your family and to be merciful as He is merciful. Make your financial gift a heartfelt offering of love and mercy to God and to your Melkite brothers and sisters. And our Lord assures you that “your reward shall be great, and you shall be called children of the Most High.” May Christ our true God bless you and your loved ones, and may He bring peace to our beloved Syria and Egypt and all the peoples of the Middle East. With my heartfelt prayers and gratitude, I remain
Your devoted father and shepherd ✠ Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra Bishop of Newton
 
Arabic translation (PDF, 3 pages, 64KB)


Holy and Glorious Pascha 2018
Dear Clergy and Faithful, Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
Now that we have seen the Resurrection of Christ, let us adore the All-holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless One. We bow in worship before Your Cross, O Christ, and we praise and glorify Your Resurrection, for You are our God, and we have no other, and we magnify Your name. All you faithful, come, let us adore the holy Resurrection of Christ; for behold, through the Cross joy has come to the world. Let us always bless the Lord, let us sing His Resurrection, for by enduring for us the pain of the Cross, He has crushed Death by His death.

Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen!

This beautiful hymn is chanted on Pascha and on every Sunday after the Resurrection Gospel of Morning Prayer (Orthros). It is a stark and joyous proclamation that the Resurrection of Christ is absolutely central to the Church, as St. Paul says: “If Christ had not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain (1 Corinthians. 15:14). Empty! Pascha is the hinge on which the whole Church year swings – the greatest feast, indeed the Feast of feasts!

Although we did not witness the physical resurrection of Jesus two thousand years ago, it still takes place in each one of us who believes. Jesus appeared to His mother and to Mary Magdalene and brought them joy. He appeared to Peter to assure him he was forgiven for his denial. He appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and, in the breaking of the bread, He cleared up their despair and doubt. He appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room, making them stronger and confident in their belief. Miraculous changes occurred because Jesus appeared.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He continues to appear now and to reveal Himself now in order to forgive our sins. He is not dead: He lives! He instills new hope in us. When we fear, He upholds us. As He appeared to Paul on his way to persecute the Christians in Damascus, He continues to appear to us today through the love we share with one another. In our confused times, He is the way; in our despair, He is our hope; in our sins, He is forgiveness and mercy; in our death, He is our life.

I know the tomb is empty because I see the resurrected Jesus in all of you; touching you I have touched Christ, like Thomas the Apostle. I have seen the Resurrection of Christ: He speaks to me in my daily prayers, and I listen to Him in His Holy Bible, and I hear His inner Voice within me, called conscience. And He touches me in the Holy Mysteries or Sacraments of the Church, especially in the Communion of His Precious Body and Blood, where He gives Himself to me entirely!

My prayer for you on this Feast of feasts is that you, too, will experience His living, loving, life-giving Presence, and that He will strengthen you in your weaknesses and sorrows. May He raise you up each time you fall – “for behold through the Cross joy has come to the world… for He has crushed Death by His death.”

My love, prayers, and blessings for a glorious Paschal Season to you all!

Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen!

Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,
✠ Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra
Eparchial Bishop of Newton

 

This conference is the second organised this year by Al-Azhar on a new international and interfaith platform.

The first such, with the very significant title Religious Freedom: citizenship, diversity and integration, had been held from 28 February to 1 March 2017. My talk at that conference was published in the conference acts, but I further outlined my ideas in a dozen interviews in various media outlets.

Christian and Muslim faith leaders, scholars and political figures were invited to both conferences.

Talks were given by Eastern and Western Christian and Muslim international figures from the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Europe; these were not only in Arabic, but also in English, French and Italian.

Topics dealt with have examined the various aspects of peace: challenges to peace; religion and the misinterpretation of peace; poverty, sickness and peace; the culture of peace and the impact of religions; reality and hope.

Important figures have been participating in the current conference: Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Melkite patriarchs of Alexandria, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, bishops and imams from Egypt, Iraq and other Arab countries of Africa and Asia.

Mutual respect, acceptance of others and frankness characterised the grand opening.

The present congress is a further step, a step forward, an opening, a note of hope…More respect, mutual recognition, and the desire to go forward.

A successful congress!

The visit of His Holiness Pope Francis has given added value to the significance of the current conference. He has come at God’s time (God’s kairos) for peace, dialogue and openness, solidarity, understanding, co-ordination, co-operation, optimism, for all us Christians and Muslims in Egypt and the world.

Thank you, Holy Father!

Thank you, Al-Azhar!

+ Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and Jerusalem
 
“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:9)

Abandonment of Patriarchal Service is the culmination of my Catholic Christian, monastic and humanitarian life’s work: a period during which the Holy Saviour has bestowed his blessings on me.

On November 29, 2000, I was elected patriarch, so am now in the seventeenth year of my service at the Patriarchate, having completed many projects with the grace of the Saviour and thanks to the generosity and love of friends, especially German ones.

In January 2011, during a private spiritual retreat in Cairo, I wrote down a spiritual prayer and concluded, "I hope to resign from my patriarchal service in due time after seven to ten years.” Then, in the retreat for Damascus priests in Seidnaya in June 2011, I wrote a spiritual meditation saying, "I hope to give up my patriarchal service in either 2014 or 2015, when I am aged 83 or 84 or at most 85." God is behind the intention.

Years passed and because of the failure, for known reasons, to convene the Synod of June 2016, I decided to give up my patriarchal service for the good of the Church. I wrote a letter to that effect to the Congregation for Eastern Churches on 20 June, 2016. We were later able to hold a Synod between 21 and 23 February, 2017. We reached a beautiful ecclesial accord.

On the other hand and for the sake of the Church, which I loved so much, I placed my resignation at the disposition of His Holiness the Pope.

I looked back at my diary as I mentioned above in this statement, and found that the Spirit had guided me on a straight path. I saw that it was time for implementing what I wrote in 2011 and am ready to relinquish my patriarchal service by the age of 85, i.e. 15 December 2017.

This is my decision before the Redeemer and my monastic, priestly, ascetic and patriarchal conscience.

I have written four letters to His Holiness the Pope to explain my reasons, especially the need to live as we stated in the Agreed Synodal Statement (February 23 2017), to live in an atmosphere of companionship and love in June 2017. I explained in these letters the way I proposed to announce my resignation, asking His Holiness to enable this renunciation of office to take place in such a way as to preserve the patriarch’s dignity, preserve the dignity of the Eastern Churches and respect for Eastern traditions, as well as respect for other Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, for Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of all Churches and for ecumenical dialogue.

The transition from one era to the next is an agreed order of things that was decided upon in February 2017. But coordination on the details of the mode and mechanism of transition has not been properly followed. I will continue to communicate with His Holiness the Pope and with the Congregation for Eastern Churches, to find a suitable outcome to this transition. We will remain in touch in this spirit of love and understanding, for the good of our Church, unity and future, for the glory of God and the welfare of souls.

I conclude by thanking “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1: 3). I also conclude with a phrase from my 2011 meditation on resignation, "`Love never fails!´ Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Mary, and let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.“

+ Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and Jerusalem
Of the Melkite Greek Catholics
 
Arabic translation (PDF, 3 pages, 64KB)


Holy and Glorious Pascha 2017
My Dear Melkites, Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

These vibrant words we proclaim to announce the resurrection of Christ form the background music of our life. In every parish I visit, especially during the Paschal season, everyone – young and old – chants with gusto “Christ is risen from the dead…” again and again whether in English, Arabic or Greek. The melody is catchy and known by all. But more than just a melody, it is an act of faith announcing that we live eternally, and even though we die, we still live! In baptism, we died with Christ to sin and death, and we were resurrected with Him to the newness of life. We are called by God to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

I remember well as a child, each year before the end of Great Lent, my mother would take me, my sister, and brothers to downtown Paterson to buy a full set of new clothes, the clothes we would wear on Pascha. Everything had to be new, from underwear, socks, shoes, to trousers, shirt and tie, and even a jacket for the boys and a beautiful dress for my sister. Our new clothes were reminiscent of our baptismal garments in infancy since Resurrection Sunday was our renewal of being Christian through baptism. All the clothes had to be new to celebrate this great event, our renewal in Christ.

“We celebrate the very death of Death, the overthrow of Hell, and the beginning of another life which is eternal.”

At every Sunday Orthros (Morning Prayer) and every day during the 40-day Paschal season we chant “Now that we have seen the resurrection of Christ, let us adore that all-holy Lord Jesus … for You are our God and we have no other … for behold through the cross joy has come to the world. Let us always bless the Lord, let us sing his resurrection, for by enduring for us the pain of the cross, He has crushed death by his death.”

Having been saved by the resurrection of Christ, He continues to appear to us daily in his Word – the holy Bible. We receive his body and blood in the Eucharist. He appears in his teachings of love and mercy; He appears to us to comfort us when grieving. He comes to us in our periods of doubt to instill new hope. When we fear, He upholds us. Jesus is not dead; He lives! He is not just a great teacher and beautiful example for us to follow. He is Son of God, the risen Lord of glory. He appears in our confusion to show us the way, in our despair to be our hope, in our sin to be our forgiveness, in our death to be our life.

During this joyful season, we add our prayers for the suffering Christians particularly in the Middle East who are still being bombarded with hatred, persecuted for their faith, and dying daily deaths in despair. We ask God to uphold them in his loving arms and to heal their brokenness in the areas of turmoil. May the risen Christ shine his resurrection on the enemies of our faith and instill within them the peace of our loving God.

Christ is risen from the dead … our background music in life is loud and clear. Sing it loud and clear and proclaim that He is risen, and so are we who live in Him. We are Christ to our world, to our families, friends, and yes, even to our enemies: “Today is the day of Resurrection: let us glory in this feast and embrace one another. O brethren let us say ‘Because of the Resurrection, we forgive all things to those who hate us.’ And let us all sing together: Christ is risen from the dead, and by his death He has trampled upon death, and his given life to those who were in the tombs.”

I greet all of you in the risen Lord, and I ask Him to bless you and your families, preserving you in good health as you bring the good news of salvation to everyone you meet. Proclaim it loud and clear: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! But don’t forget to add: and “So am I” – a new person in Jesus Christ.

With my prayers and blessings, I remain

Sincerely yours in the risen Savior,
✠ Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra
Eparchial Bishop of Newton
Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy in Mexico

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