The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Lebanon celebrated the Feast of the Cross on September 14, 2023, by illuminating the Cross above the socio-cultural center of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (founder of the association). This center houses the Mar Mansour de Paul Church in downtown Beirut, which was destroyed during the Lebanese events. The society is now engaged in its reconstruction, thanks to the generous contributions that have made this new endeavor possible, turning it once again into a beacon and a shining station for meetings and dialogue. The celebration was attended by the Papal Ambassador in Lebanon, Paolo Borgia, as well as religious, official, civil, educational personalities, and representatives of charitable associations, along with a gathering of association members. The event began with a brief history of the center and the church by His Eminence César Essayan, Archbishop of the Latin Church in Lebanon. The regional president of the Lazarist Fathers in the East and the national chaplain of the society, Father Ramzi Jreij, then led a prayer, accompanied by the basilica choir of the miraculous icon, before the Cross was lit above the center. Afterward, the invited guests entered the church holding candles, where the president of the association, Paul Kallassy, delivered a speech emphasizing the center’s goal, which is to facilitate meetings, dialogue, and encounters with others. The president announced four upcoming practical steps: – Completion of phase two of the restoration. – Revitalization and restoration of the Nativity scene this year, with the efforts of the Khayyat family. – Organization of various celebrations and activities during the upcoming festive Christmas season. – Announcement of the establishment of an alumni committee for the Saint Vincent de Paul School. The celebration concluded with the screening of two documentary films, one about the history and objectives of the center and the other about the unique grotto that has been famous for decades. The event ended with a cocktail reception featuring the piano performance by Mrs. Elham Najjar and the violin performance by Maria Filomena.
Source: National News Agency – Lebanon