JS features new Maronite Catholic church in Milwaukee

Sturtevant — Monsignor Sharbel Maroun stands at the altar, holds the host in his outstretched arms and speaks in an ancient tongue.

"Ho-no den ee-taow fagh-ro deal," Maroun chants in Aramaic.

"Take this all of you and eat it."

"Dah-lo-fai-koon wah-lof sa-gee-yeh|meh-teq-seh oo-meh-tee-heb|lhoo-so-yod haow-beh wal-ha-yeh|dal-'o-lam 'ol-meen."

"For this is my body, which is broken and given for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life."

The Eucharistic prayer is the heart and the essence of the Maronite Catholic Mass, an Eastern rite that dates to the earliest days of Christianity.

It speaks to the transcendence and mystery of a savior who is both man and God. And no matter where one worships in the world — in the Middle East or Europe, in Asia or Wisconsin — it is same: chanted as it has been for centuries in the language of Jesus himself.

"This is the language of Christ," said an emotional Vera Maalouf, one of the founding members of a nascent Maronite congregation — the first of its kind in Wisconsin — founded last fall in the Racine suburb of Sturtevant.

"I tell my children, this is the closest to Christ you will ever be in this life."

The Maronite Catholic Mission of Milwaukee, which is celebrating its first Easter season on Sunday, is among 10 fledgling congregations planted over the last five years by the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in St. Louis.
Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/easter-message-rings-true-as-new-maronite-church-grows-b99250725z1-255883521.html#ixzz2zcpO3e50
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Nice work!

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