Past Events
Season of the Glorious Epiphany (Denho)

Season of the Glorious Epiphany (Denho)

27. December, 2019Past EventsNo comments

photo cover- DINHIn our Maronite Church the “Season of the Glorious Epiphany (Denho)” begins on January 6th, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It is known in Syriac as Denho.

Maronites and many Eastern Christian churches celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, focusing on the Baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist. The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord is a major feast in our Eastern Tradition. The importance of Christ’s baptism is described in the Gospels of apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and is the first manifestation of the Holy Trinity to mankind. Epiphany/Theophany comes from the Greek word “Theophania” which means appearance of God or manifestation of God.

An important part of the feast is the blessing of holy water, which signifies Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River.

Our Heavenly Father Himself, with His mighty voice and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, said of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, with these words, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ God said these words while Jesus was standing in the Jordan River. And most of the people who gathered on the banks of the Jordan to hear the sermons of St. John the Baptist heard and observed this unique presentation, thus making this feast the first feast in the Christian church before Christmas was introduced as a separate feast, according to St. John Chrysostom.

Through baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we become the children of God and heirs of the heavenly kingdom. Only Holy Baptism can liberate us from the bondage of Original Sin, and the holy water possesses the power that casts away evil.

The Epiphany water is blessed with a lighted charcoal which signifies the fire of the Spirit who entered the Jordan River at Christ’s Baptism. In our Maronite liturgy, this is the meaning of the ritual of immersing the inflamed  charcoal in the water.  It is like mixing fire and water, the fire represents divinity and the water represents our life or the material world. Symbolically, when our Lord went into the water to be baptized by Saint John the Baptist, he sanctified the water, the essential element of life. The water symbolizes the origin of creation and of every  creature which is in need of sanctification through the Holy Spirit. This water is then sprinkled on the congregation by the priest reminding them of their own baptism in which they put on a  robe of Christ and were cleansed from their original sin. The water is also taken home and can be sprinkled or consumed so that the Holy Spirit may sanctify us and our material world submitting everything to the will of God.

In addition to Jesus’ baptism, Theophany in the some churches traditionally included the Nativity, the wedding feast at Cana, the visit by the Magi and the presentation of Jesus in the Temple as a child, all of which indicate in some way the manifestation of God on Earth.”

In Maronite culture many people wait to have their babies baptized and confirmed (chrismated) on or around Denho.

However, for all Syriac Christians, Denho is a time to reflect on the consequences of at least the first two stages of our Initiation, namely, what happened to us by being baptized (incorporation into the Church, the Body of Christ; and the door to life in the Holy Trinity being opened); and in Chrismation (Confirmation) and outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage, counsel, piety and holy fear), leading us to experience the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (joy, peace, love, gentleness, self-control, patience, kindness, faith, etc.).”

Christmas Season Schedule 2019/2020

Christmas Season Schedule 2019/2020

6. December, 2019Past EventsNo comments

Christmas Season Schedule 2019-2020

 

Sunday Dec 22nd, 2019 

The Genealogy of Jesus  أحد النسبة
10:30 am– Mass
12:30 pm– Mass
6:30 pm- Mass in Pickering

Tuesday Dec 24th, 2019
The Birth of Our Lord     ليلة عيد الميلاد المجيد   
10:00 – 11:15 pm Confessions
11:30 pm Midnight Mass 

Wednesday Dec 25th, 2019 
The Birth of Our Lord      عيد الميلاد المجيد
10:30 am– Mass
12:30 pm
– Mass
6:30 pm– Mass in Pickering

Thursday Dec 26th, 2019 – Praises to Mary
7:30  pm– Mass

Saturday Dec 28th, 2019
6:30  pm40 Days memorial mass for the late Farid Nahal Offered by his sisters Georgette Estephan, Marie Louise Shalhoub, Marguerite Nahal & Alice Hanna with their families.

Sunday Dec 29th, 2019
10:30 am– Mass
12:30 pm– Mass
6:30 pm– Mass in Pickering

Wednesday Jan 1st, 2020 (New Year)
Circumcision of Jesus / World Day of Peace
12:30 pm– Mass

Saturday Jan 4th, 2020 
6:30  pm – Mass

Sunday Jan 5th, 2020
The Glorious Epiphany of the Lord  عيد الغطاس
10:30 am– Mass & Blessing of the water
12:30 pm– Mass & Blessing of the water
6:30 pm– Mass & Blessing of the water in Pickering

Season of the Glorious Birth of the Lord

Season of the Glorious Birth of the Lord

18. November, 2019Past EventsNo comments

(Also called Season of Soboorey, a Syriac word meaning “Happy Announcements”)

The pre-Christmas Cycle, in the Maronite Church, has six Sundays, which all focus on the unfolding revelation of the Birth of the Messiah. This is done in the context of the immediate family of Jesus, centering on Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1, 2). This is certainly in line with the Antiochene emphasis on the humanity of Jesus and its appreciation of the historical aspect of Scripture. The greatest Announcement, of course, is that of the angels on Christmas.

There are one or two Sundays after Christmas (depending upon the day of the week that Christmas occurs), one of which is always celebrated: the Finding in the Temple. On 1 January the liturgical commemoration is Feast of the Circumcision (Naming) of the Child Jesus, with a second commemoration of the common Eastern observance of Saint Basil.

The Sundays of the Advent Season in the Maronite Church are:

  • Announcement to Zechariah
  • Announcement to the Virgin Mary
  • Visitation to Elizabeth
  • Birth of John the Baptizer
  • Revelation to Joseph
  • Genealogy Sunday
  • Christmas

Nine days before the Feast of Christmas, (beginning on December 16th and concluding on December 24th) the Maronite Church offers its Novena with voluntary fasting, commemorating the nine months that Jesus was in the womb of Mary.

Here’s an excerpt from the Maronite Christmas Novena:

We have offered you, O Wonderful Child and only-begotten Son, the perfume of our incense, the desires of our hearts, the submission of our souls, the adoring reverence of our bodies, and the prayers of our lips. May this be a proper preparation for your pure Nativity. May we be found worthy, on that holy day, for you to dwell in us through the Mystery of your Sacred Body and Blood, as you dwelt in your mother’s womb for nine months. May we be enlightened by the announcement of your holy angels, as were the humble shepherds. May we worship you with true spiritual adoration, as did the Blessed Magi, when we offer you not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but faith, hope and warm love. May these virtues flourish in us and bring forth good works pleasing to your will. To you be glory and thanks, to your Blessed Father, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. 

Below are verses 1 and 2 of the well-known Maronite Christmas Hymn, God Sent His Only Son, (Arabic: Arsala Allah):

God sent his only Son from the heavens to the earth as the Light for all the world. God’s Word has hid himself in the Virgin Mary’s womb, and from her, he took his flesh. His star was seen on high, shining brightly in the East, as foretold in Balaam’s words. Wise men, led by the star to the place where Jesus lay, honored him with finest gifts. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!

This child Isaiah called “Wonderful and mighty God” and proclaimed him as the Lord: “Upon his shoulders rest full authority and power over all the universe”. In truth, he is the Word and the Voice of God above, roaring with a lion’s strength. Yet, as a gentle lamb, silently and peacefully, he now dwells in Mary’s womb. Halel. Halel. Halelloonoh!

Nativity Icon

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

9. September, 2019Past EventsNo comments

The Story of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Early in the fourth century, Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher on that spot. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day, the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.


Reflection

The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority—including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.

Agnolo_Gaddi_-_Discovery_of_the_True_Cross_-_WGA08367-1014x487

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

5. September, 2019Past EventsNo comments

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.

Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.

Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.” The opening prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary’s Son as the dawn of our salvation, and asks for an increase of peace.

008-NativityBVM


Reflection

We can see every human birth as a call for new hope in the world. The love of two human beings has joined with God in his creative work. The loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with travail. The new child has the potential to be a channel of God’s love and peace to the world.

This is all true in a magnificent way in Mary. If Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s love, Mary is the foreshadowing of that love. If Jesus has brought the fullness of salvation, Mary is its dawning.

Birthday celebrations bring happiness to the celebrant as well as to family and friends. Next to the birth of Jesus, Mary’s birth offers the greatest possible happiness to the world. Each time we celebrate her birth, we can confidently hope for an increase of peace in our hearts and in the world at large.

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

7. August, 2019Past EventsNo comments

The Story of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.

We find homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. In following centuries, the Eastern Churches held steadily to the doctrine, but some authors in the West were hesitant. However by the 13th century there was universal agreement. The feast was celebrated under various names—Commemoration, Dormition, Passing, Assumption—from at least the fifth or sixth century. Today it is celebrated as a solemnity.

Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testaments, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to believe in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven.


Reflection

In the light of the Assumption of Mary, it is easy to pray her Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) with new meaning. In her glory she proclaims the greatness of the Lord and finds joy in God her savior. God has done marvels to her and she leads others to recognize God’s holiness. She is the lowly handmaid who deeply reverenced her God and has been raised to the heights. From her position of strength she will help the lowly and the poor find justice on earth, and she will challenge the rich and powerful to distrust wealth and power as a source of happiness.

 

Assumption OLOL Picnic, August 17th 2019

Assumption OLOL Picnic, August 17th 2019

7. August, 2019Past EventsNo comments

On the occasion of the feast of
Assumption of the Virgin Mary,

Our Lady of Lebanon Church
invites you all to a Picnic.

A shout out to OLOL’s Youth groups:
OLOL Summer Campers 
IGNITE OLOL
SPARK OLOL
along with their parents and friends to join us at 
OLOL’s Assumption Picnic

Date: AUGUST 17, 2019 (starting 1pm)
Location: “Boyd Conservation Park
8739 Islington Ave, Woodbridge, ON, L4L 1A6
(Islington & Rutherford)

“Let’s reinforce our Youth’s bonding,
cherish their good camp memories
& start an annual end of summer Youth gathering tradition” 

  • Fun & entertainment activities will be coordinated by camp executives.
  • Let’s have the Youth come wearing their favorite OLOL camp T-shirt!
  • Parents and friends, bring your food, BBQ, and let’s celebrate our Youths’ solidarity.
  • Camp Kitchen Moms will infuse this picnic with their special recipe of SAJ treats.

All are welcome

Entertainment @ Lebanese Festival Toronto 2019,

Entertainment @ Lebanese Festival Toronto 2019,

27. June, 2019Past EventsNo comments

As promised we will be having entertainment all weekend long at the Lebanese Festival Toronto 2019,

Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July 2019.

so please join us for some food, music and lots of dancing!

We are waiting for you at the Armenian Centre (50 Hallcrown Pl, North York, ON)

For more information please visit our website:

https://www.lebanesefestivaltoronto.com/
#LebaneseFestivalTO

festival saturdayfriday singerssunday singers

Pentecost – The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost – The Descent of the Holy Spirit

27. June, 2019Past EventsNo comments

This feast of the Pentecost is of great importance as it marks the coming of the Holy Spirit. The “Rabulla Gospels” were with the Maronites since the 6th Century. They are one of the oldest surviving biblical manuscripts and are based on the Syriac Peshita version of the Gospel. They also contain this icon of Pentecost. The icon invites us to contemplate the scene of the Gospel and live it in your own life.

The large blue arch in the icon symbolizes the heavenly realm. The trees that are growing above the blue represent the Garden of Paradise. The Holy Spirit descends on the Upper Chamber where the apostles are assembled at Pentecost. “Blessed is He who exalted Adam and caused him to return to Paradise.” (from Hymns on Paradise from St Ephrem)

The dove descending is the Spirit of the Living God. It descends from the blue heavenly realm and enters the earthly realm to rest on Mary who is speaking with the apostles. The dove echoes Jesus earlier baptism. This is also reflective of the scene in Acts 2:3 where tongues of fire res on each disciples head.

The inclusion of Mary in the icon is important. Syriac theology has been instrumental in the development of early Marian theology. Mary is not mentioned in the scene in Acts 2, however she is mentioned as being with the Apostles earlier in Acts 1:14. The icon puts Mary center stage in the scene and puts her in a place of prominence. Her dark blue robe stands in contrast to the paler blue of the apostles and her halo is golden in comparison to the violet of the apostles. The icon is depicting the the gathering of Christ’s Church. Christ had ascended nine days earlier and left Mary as the leading Church custodian among the apostles.

Around Mary you can see a concentration of red which is representative of the divine. This is a typological reference to God who in the Old Testament is fire, for example the burning bush at Mt Sinai. The rocky sapphire stones on which they stand are a reference to Exodus 24:10 “and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.” They now see God by way of the Spirit.

Take a moment this Sunday and contemplate the icon. Feel the warmth of the Spirit in your life, it is the link for us between heaven and earth.

rabbula-pentecost1