.- Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. George on Tuesday marking the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Maron, father of the Maronite rite and patron saint of Lebanon.
Attending the Mass was the country's President Michel Suleiman, a Maronite. Also present were Prime Minister Saad-al-Hariri and President of Parliament, Nabih Berri - both Muslims.
In his homily the cardinal prayed, “May St. Maron grant us better days than the ones we have lived and may we be able to celebrate many feasts filled with goodness and peace!”
In a letter to mark the Jubilee Year for St. Maron, which began on February 9 and will end on March 2, 2011, Cardinal Sfeir explained that the purpose of the year is to pray, think, repent and to reflect on history and learn lessons from it.
He then noted that the Jubilee Year will be “one of special graces for individuals and the community,” as well as “a year of joy.”
According to SIR news agency, the patriarch has instituted an organizing committee for the celebrations of the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Maron, to be led by Bishop Paul-Emile Saade of Batrun of the Maronites.