Maronite Catholics Elect New Patriarch

Church bells rang, horns blasted and firecrackers echoed throughout Lebanon as it was announced on March 15 that Bishop Bechara Rai of Jbeil, Lebanon, had been elected the new patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church. The Rev. Joseph Mouawad, vicar general of Jbeil, predicted that Patriarch Rai would begin a pastoral renewal of the church. “I think his first mission will be to confirm us in our faith here in Lebanon, and, as head of the church, he will try to unite Christians, the different parties, and to consolidate the communion among the Maronites,” Father Mouawad said. “He has a deep spirituality and he is very sociable and open to the others, and he has great courage. He says the truth even if someone doesn’t want to listen to it,” Father Mouawad said. “I think on a national level in Lebanon, he will work to conserve this country to be a country of conviviality of all religions—between Christian and Muslims.”

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