Home…..for most of us, the mere mention of the word evokes a flood of nostalgic memories. Some of these memories may bring a smile to our face, some of these memories may bring a tear to our eyes, but all of these memories are part of who we are and what we hope to be. Our Lady of Purgatory Church has been our spiritual home for 100 years. It is here that we have come to welcome our young into our faith as we have celebrated Baptisms & First Communions. It is here that we have come to ask God’s Blessings on us as we professed our love for another through Marriage or our commitment to serve the people of God through Ordination. It is also here that we have gathered to bid farewell to a loved ones and pray for God’s mercy on his or her soul. In essence, this is our home – it is where we receive the spiritual sustenance to strengthen us on our pilgrimage to the Father. We welcome you home, and hope you not only return to this site many times over the coming months, but more importantly that you and your loved ones join the rest of our spiritual family at weekend Liturgy and at the many Centennial Celebration events to celebrate the love of our Father and this 100 yearlong pilgrimage of faith.
When reflecting on my vocation since I was a young boy that it has been a rewarding experience thus far. I wish to thank the parishioners for welcoming me into the parish, into their lives, and their community of faith and prayer, both the living and the faithful departed. A special thank you for the diocese of Fall River for enabling me to enroll in their Diaconate program, bishop O'Malley at the time, Bishop Doueihi (may God rest his soul) and all the priests, especially Msgr. John Moore who spent countless hours preparing us to serve the community and the altar of the Lord. Thank you to all the pastors that served OLOP church for providing me the opportunity to assist them as I am currently with our pastoral administrator father Fadi Rouhana. I have been very fortunate and blessed to serve and learn from father George, father Ed and father Jack. They have each nourished my vocation in their own way. Special thank you to bishop Gregory Mansour and Chorbishop Michael Thomas for their continued support. Thank you to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light for their coaching and support. It will go unnoticed if I do not thank my mom for her continued prayers, my departed father, father and mother-in-law, and a special uncle and aunt. Lastly, a sincere token of appreciation to my family especially my wife who puts up with me and my idiosyncrasies. Imagine the support she provided, while raising three children, working full time, studying to become a deacon and getting an MBA all at the same time! While studying, she was washing dishes, cooking, changing diapers, taking the children to their activities. Without Martha, I would not have been able to succeed as a husband and a father and especially in my ministry. Her continued support, prayers, encouragement and love were and remain second to none. I owe her the greatest gratitude. May this celebration once again set us free for another 100 years filled with prayer, courage, truth, health, forgiveness and most of all love for one another. As mother Theresa said about love " I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world". Happy Centennial Celebration.
I have been a parishioner of Our Lady of Purgatory Church for my whole life . I have been active in the choir,as a cantor and a lector and for the past eight and one half years I have been a subdeacon. I have to thank my dear wife Carol Ann and Father Jack for giving me the inspiration to pursue this ministry.
In my capacity as subdeacon along with my regular duties ,I have been able to give communion to the sick as well as visits to those who are housebound or in nursing homes and or rehabilitation hospitals.
I am praying that God gives me many more years so I may continue to serve in His vineyard and in His grace there will be many more years to follow in the next hundred years."
Dear Reverend Monsignors, Fathers, Deacons, Subdeacons, Religious Men and Women, People of God :
On behalf of the entire Parish of Our Lady of Purgatory, we wanted to send this Invitation to join us for our Liturgy of Thanksgiving on our 100th Anniversary, October 1st, 2017 at the 10:00 AM Divine Liturgy, 11 Franklin St. New Bedford, Mass. On September 30th we will have a celebration dinner at the Venus De Milo in Swansea Mass at 7:00 PM.
One hundred years ago, a group of faithful and dedicated “forbear” who had emigrated from the mountains of Lebanon, gathered together for the first time as clergy and laity to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. It was in this particular act, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, that this group became a Maronite Community of Faith. At that time, they didn’t realize the remarkable plans God had for Our Lady of Purgatory Church. One hundred years later, we are still existing strong as ever, as a testimony to the will and plan of the creator, and as servants of God and His mission on earth. While the faithful of Our Lady of Purgatory Church encountered many challenges and times of tribulation during their journey of faith these past 100 years, we have witnessed God’s miracles of wisdom, power, guidance, prayer, perseverance and fortification!
As the Pastoral Administrator, and on behalf of the Parish Board of Trustees, I want to express how honored we are to be here at this special time in the history of our Parish and how we look with keenness to even greater things in the future! In the words of Saint Luke, our Parish is “like a man who built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock” (Lk 6:48). While, we humans can become a bit self-centered with our own sense of importance and worth, and those of forebears, as a Community Faith we understand that during this time of celebration we must seek to venerate first and foremost Christ, as both the "head of the church" and "prince of peace" of His bride, the Church, He established.
Your presence will make our celebration even more blessed and memorable, will enrich and strengthen the bond that existed for decades between the Latin and Maronite Rites in New England. We understand that you are very busy visiting the members of your own flock, but we look forward to you joining us for this special celebration.
During the coming year there will be more information regarding the details of our year-long celebration available on our website, www.OLOP100.org. We look forward to discussing the possibility of your attendance and any questions or comments you may have. Please contact me at (508) 996-8934 or Reverend Deacon Jean Mattar at (774) 217-9232.
In Christ’s love and service, I remain