Christ is among us! – Such is the greeting that Byzantine Christians extend to one another.
He is and always will be – is the appropriate response.
With profound gratitude, let me express my appreciation for your persistence, patience and interest in the dawning of a new endeavor in the metroplex: the Melkite Outreach.
The Lord is good and blessed be His name, now and always.
What has been happening:
Thus far, I have been taking the steps necessary to prepare for this missionary work. Namely, to learn the Eastern liturgical life of prayer, immerse myself as much as possible in the Eastern approach and meet and establish a rapport with fellow Melkites across the fruited plains. While the Western approach emphasizes more the Creed and catechism in order to learn the Faith and worship. The Eastern approach emphasizes more the life of prayer – both liturgical and personal prayer – to know, to understand and to live the Apostolic Faith. This, therefore, has been my first responsibility and will continue to be.
Nevertheless, other steps are in motion as this Melkite Outreach slowly and organically matures:
First: Soon, a webpage for the Melkite Outreach will be up and running. This has been made possible by the generosity of a dear friend of mine, Greg Houston in Colorado (if you would please say a prayer for his sister who recently fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 72). The webpage will allow the Outreach to gain more public notoriety and allow me to communicate regular updates, news, catechesis etc. that occur in the universal Church, the Patriarchate, the local Church and the Outreach.
Second: Our Melkite Bishop, Nicholas Samra, has a list of names of possible Melkites that live in the metroplex. Soon, and graciously, he will write these households a letter to inform them about the new DFW Melkite Outreach.
Third: Every quarter the Melkite Eparchy (the Byzantine name for “diocese” or territory) sends out a magazine called Sophia with news, information and updates about the Patriarchate and local Melkite Church (all of N. America). The August 2020 issue has announced this new initiative. If you wish to be included on future mailing lists please let me know.
Fourth: The Melkite CFO – Deacon Robert Shaloub – has been assisting me in order to open a bank account for the Outreach. It should be completed before Labor Day.
Fifth: The Outreach is listed on the Melkite Eparchy webpage along with all the other outreaches, parish missions and parishes in N. America including their webpages, phone numbers. locations and the pastors. It is another excellent resource for all things Melkite and if you happen to be traveling in the area of one listed, be sure to visit them. Go to melkite.org.
It is my hope to begin meeting, preferably weekly, with those interested in the Melkite Outreach. It would have a threefold purpose: to pray, to learn and to socialize. The objective is to begin the formation of a common life in Christ as Melkites. Let us recall how the first Christians lived the Faith as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: “And they held steadfastly to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship/communion, to the breaking of the bread(eucharist) and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). While we are not ready to celebrate the Divine Liturgy (called the Mass in the West), we are able to commence with the other three apostolic endeavors!
- When: begin in September.
- Where: different hosting homes until we find a more permanent place to meet. Conditions: homes that can accommodate people while respecting social distancing norms. This could even mean outdoors in people’s backyards if suitable.
- Who: Any one is welcome to attend. The gathering will allow people the opportunity to ask questions, inquire and familiarize themselves with the Melkite Church.
This is God’s work and everything is entrusted into His hands. If you are ready to embark on the next step with me, let me know. The responses will determine the logistics to meet. In the meantime, let us heed the exhortation of Saint Paul: , “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; and pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Col 4:2). Indeed, pray constantly for this Outreach for its mission ultimately is one: a response to Christ’s inaugural address: “Metanoia (Be converted), the Kingdom of God has come near” (Mt 3:2). Ours is to manifest and increase the Kingdom of God!
In Christ our God,
Fr. Marc Mallick