“We are all invited to choose our boat and embark towards other shores in the direction of new horizons”. Thus Friar Dominique MATHIEU began his homily for a Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday July 2, 2019, in the church of St. Anthony of Padua in Beirut, Lebanon. Friar Dominique, a member of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, was recently elected the Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF) during the last General Chapter.
The Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated the gift of Friars Dominique Joseph MATHIEU and Florin Gheorghiţă BOGDAN and bade them farewell. They are from the Lebanese communities of St. Anthony of Padua in Sin el Fil and St. Francis of Assisi in Zahlé. The two friars concelebrated this evening Mass with Friar Anton BULAI, the Provincial Custos of the Orient and the Holy Land, at our church of St. Anthony of Padua in Horch Tabet, Sin el Fil.
A large assembly of faithful gathered to praise the Lord and thank him for the gift of our brothers. The liturgical service for this celebration was provided by our young people in vocational discernment. Hymns were sung by the choir of the parish scout troop. After the Mass, everyone moved to the friary for a fraternal agape meal and countless photos were taken from various mobile phones. Dulcis in fundo, the fraternity gathered that evening on the terrace of the friary for a barbecue, songs and dancing.
With St. Francis in his “Praises to Be Said at All the Hours,” we also say: “let us praise and glorify Him forever”, for the gift of these brothers. May they sail to other ports and return, inshallah (‘God willing’ in Arabic and Turkish) to our lands in the Orient, the cradle of encounter with other faiths, churches and Christian traditions.
Fr. Roger Kouyoumdji