On April 10, the episcopal ordination in Bkerké, presided over by Patriarch Raï. A pastor, catechist, administrator and chaplain linked to the world of scouts and the Focolare motion. The prelate should lead some of the populous and controversial dioceses within the nation. The hot button is hope and energy for the long run.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – He’s conscious that he’s addressing people who find themselves in misery, Lebanese who hesitate between attachment to their house and job safety. His phrases usually are not chosen at random. He speaks to a inhabitants whose quantity is dwindling and younger people who find themselves leaving, out of necessity or disgust. With a powerful, assured, prophetic voice, the brand new Maronite archbishop of Antelias, Msgr. Antoine Bou Najem, ordained final April 10 in Bkerké, launches an attraction to the meeting to not lose hope, the important thing to their energy and future.
His voice is listened to with consideration by the apostolic nuncio, Msgr. Giuseppe Spiteri, and by a delegation from the diocese of Lyon, twinned with Antelias, headed by the auxiliary bishop Msgr. Patrick le Gal. The phrases of Isaiah, which he evokes forcefully, assist to bolster his attraction: “Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, don’t concern, for I actually will enable you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One in every of Israel. ‘See, I’ll make you right into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many enamel. You’ll thresh the mountains and crush them, and scale back the hills to chaff. You’ll winnow them, the wind will decide them up, and a gale will blow them away. However you’ll rejoice within the Lord and glory within the Holy One in every of Israel.”
His confidence comes from being a person “stunned by grace” from a really younger age. He dreamed of a contemplative retreat on the mannequin of Saint Charbel, behind the partitions of a monastery. Right here, quite the opposite, is what was determined by the Maronite synod which directed him in the direction of new and extra burdensome obligations.
Born right into a modest household of policemen from Zalka (Metn-Nord coast), Antoine Bou Najem’s vocation to the priesthood was revealed from an early age. He has all the time seen himself as a priest. At the moment, in a video broadcast on-line, we hear his mom standing earlier than a forged iron plaque within the cemetery of Her-Hraya (Mont-Liban), saying to her husband Fares that his son “has simply been elected bishop”.
An exemplary path has guided him as much as right here. In accordance with the testimony of the Maronite patriarch Beshara Raï, who offered him to the devoted gathered within the exterior chapel of the patriarchate, the priest who’s about to be ordained bishop has been capable of skillfully accumulate the pastoral (in six totally different parishes), administrative, chaplains (college students of the secondary colleges, scouts from Lebanon, Equipes Notre-Dame, New Households of the Focolare) and as a catechist in private and non-private colleges.
He took it upon himself to the complete, not with out having identified some empty passage as he himself will acknowledge. Disciple for the reason that seminary of a bishop of confirmed religion, Msgr. Youssef Béchara, who later ordained him a priest, who at one time assumed the pastoral care of a nationwide sovereign political motion, the Qornet Chehwan gathering, originally of the civil battle (1975-1990), Antoine Bou Najem he heard his mentor inform him that he “confused” some parishioners with an “indecisive spirituality”.
The firmness within the religion got here after a sabbatical yr spent in Loppiano (in Tuscany), place of formation of the Focolare Motion, the place consecrated lay folks, households, spiritual and monks stay collectively. The choice in favor of consecrated celibacy tempered his character, understanding that the custom of married monks has all the time been acknowledged within the Maronite Church. His selection was then consolidated by a doctorate in pastoral theology on the Catholic Institute of Paris, topped by a specialization in Islamic-Christian dialogue. In his speech of thanks, he defined that episcopal ring, the cross and the pastoral workers had been these of the bishop who ordained him a priest, Msgr. Youssef Béchara.
A diocese filled with contrasts and teeming with younger folks
His new flock of the Maronite diocese of Antelias, is likely one of the most populous and controversial in Lebanon. Wealthy in locations, equivalent to Rabiyé, it extends to the belt of distress of Beirut, and has 93 parishes, with about 90 monks, women and men spiritual. Within the space there are a few of the hottest personal colleges in Lebanon, together with the school of the Marist Brothers and the school of the “Jesus and Mary” sisters, in addition to numerous hospitals. Many deputies, ministers, former ministers and senior state officers reside there. Lastly, two nice apostolic actions of lay folks, the Focolare and the Charismatic Renewal forged their nets in its waters.
It was particularly his skill to take care of this nice range, in addition to his expertise as a pastor and administrator, which earned the bishop his election. A talent based mostly particularly on the belief positioned in him by the younger folks of a area whose heart of gravity is represented by the diocesan faculty of Saint Joseph in Qornet Chehwan, a village equidistant from the coast and from the excessive mountains. And the brand new bishop himself traced this “success” to the establishment of the day by day mass, then to the mass for younger folks, to which he was capable of affiliate the assorted currents of spirituality current there, every bringing its personal specific charism. Folks say you want to arrive at mass an hour earlier to discover a place.
In a phrase pronounced in the course of the ceremony, Msgr. Bou Najem thanked the Focolare motion whose spirituality, he insisted, profoundly marked his formation and “is the supply from which he attracts inspiration”http://www.asianews.it/news-en/”, in addition to the charismatic Renewal with which he mentioned he had led retreats and missions and” cast concrete bonds. “Lastly, the Scouts of Lebanon, of which he was chaplain, and of which he holds his” Eagle” totem. Many lay actions aroused by the Holy Spirit, in response to the necessity to open the institutional Church, starched by clericalism, to your entire folks of God.
That is the pastor’s voice of which John Paul II is the perfect and by no means earlier than as immediately has the Christian group in Lebanon wanted to take heed to it. It’s the voice of hope, the one that asserts the top or maybe the alleviation of struggling, and God is aware of how nice they’re. It’s the heat and tough voice of the top of a nomadic Church whose religious wandering seeking pastures and is derived is about to finish, and who will settle within the shade of His pergolas, to eat the grapes of the vine He has planted and drink the wine of pleasure.