Indian Catholics active in Liberia

December 3, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Indian Catholics active in LiberiaIt was indeed a great and memorable day for Our Lady of Lebanon Church, St Joseph’s Parish Monrovia, Republic of Liberia in West Africa when the it marked the closing of the Golden Jubilee of the Parish and celebrated the Annual Harvest Day along with the Feast of Christ the King on 25th of November 2012

This Parish came into existence 50 years back because of the efforts of the Lebanese Community of Monrovia, especially the Salami Brothers who were the chief donors for this church. They with the Lebanese community had decided,50 yrs ago, to build this Church as a sign of gratitude to God and Our Lady of Lebanon for the people of Liberia.

This Church was first entrusted to the Missionaries of Africa (SMA), for a while during the Civil War to the Holy Cross Fathers and since 1979 to the Salesians of Don Bosco. The present Parish Priest is Rev. Fr. Lionel Xavier SDB from the Province of Chennai, India and the Assistant Parish Priest, Fr. Jose Valiplackel SDB from the Province of Dimapur, India who is in Liberia in a mission land from 25 years rendering service to the community.

A year before the celebration of the Golden Jubilee year, the parishioners after much prayerful deliberation decided to build a new church, as the old church was getting too small to cater to the needs of the growing Catholic community and had problem of proper lighting and ventilation. From the regular two services on Sunday it became three services. This was also due to the influx of the UN personnel in Monrovia.

The ground breaking ceremony for the new church was precisely one year ago on 25th of November 2012, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio, His Grace Most Rev. George Antonysamy, (who incidentally has just been the new Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, in Chennai, South India,) His Grace, Most Rev. Lewis Zeigler, the Archbishop of Monrovia, the Lebanese Ambassador, other Diplomats, Government Officials, the Clergy and the Laity.

The parish community who had been worshipping at the auditorium of Don Bosco Technical School for the past year, moved into the new church which is still under construction. At the moment the roof, the sanctuary, the floor, the walls are up and in the course of the coming year, the Parishioners hope to complete the church. The day also celebrated the feast of Christ the King and the annual harvest.

The day programme began with a para liturgical service of praise, worship and thanksgiving. This was followed by a talk on the Role of the Laity in the Catholic Church and a rally to raise funds for the Church building. The Eucharist celebration that followed was a well prepared celebration with the mass choir of 80 members with the children’s liturgical dances adding grace to the celebration. The Solemn Festive Mass was celebrated by His Grace Most Rev. Lewis Zeigler, the Archbishop of Monrovia and concelebrated by several other priests.

The Archbishop in his homily recalled the significance of this feast and the graces the faithful have received through the Love of Christ Our King. He also expressed his gratitude to the parish community for their efforts to work together and for their achievements to raise up this present edifice so far.

The Nigerian community, the Indian community, the Lebanese community, the international community, Heads of Various organisations of the Parish led the prayer of the faithful. The third part of the celebration was the annual harvest which followed the Eucharist Celebration. Food & refreshment were served by the Parishioners. The Catholic Men’s Organization, Catholic Women’s Organization, the youth organisation and other organisations of the Parish played a significant role in organising the celebrations.

Speaking on the occasion, Rev Fr Lionel Xavier SDB & Rev Fr Jose SDB expressed their gratitude and thanked all the Parishioners, Donors & well-wishers for their generosity and committed service & thanked all the people who had supported the new Church building project in different ways.

Rev. Fr Ciarapica Nicola SDB, a Priest from Italy serving in the mission land, Rev Fr  Miguel Pajares Chaplain & Brothers Superior, St John of the Cross , many religious sisters, seminarians and a host of devout Catholics were present on the occasion.

–  wilfred dsouza, monrovia

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