SALUTES "POPE OF PEACE"
Vatican, Apr. 14 (CWNews.com) -
Maronite Catholic Patriarch Pierre Nasrallah Sfeir remembered John
Paul II as the "Pope of Peace," as he celebrated the Divine Liturgy
on the 7th day of the novendiali.
The Maronite prelate used the Byzantine rite during the 7th of 9
daily Masses for the deceased Pope. The Eucharistic liturgy was
concelebrated by two other Eastern cardinals-- Major Archbishop
Lubomyr Husar of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Patriarch Ignace
Moussa Daoud, the former head of the Syrian Catholic Church-- in St.
After thanking the College of Cardinals for allowing the
opportunity to use the Byzantine ritual in the commemorations of the
late Pontiff, Cardinal Sfeir spoke of the "courageous-- very
courageous" steps John Paul II had taken to promote the Eastern
Catholic churches. He also stressed the trips that the late Pope had
taken to the troubled Middle East, seeking to encourage peaceful
negotiations between opposing parties there.
Patriarch Sfeir concluded his homily with a prayer that God would
grant John Paul II "the peace of the just," and reward him with "the
holiness he already enjoys in heaven."
During the Divine Liturgy, a Maronite nun conducted the
pontifical choir in singing Ukrainian and Romanian music. A large
number of Catholics of the Eastern churches joined in the
celebration, which ws conducted in Arabic and Syrian-Aramaic.
(Within the city of Rome, there are small Catholic communities of
the Chaldean, Syro-Malabar, Armenian, Syrian, Syro-Malankar, Coptic,
Melkite, and Maronite churches.) The celebrants were vested
according to their own liturgical traditions, in jeweled miters
shaped like crowns. For the sake of Italian Catholics unfamiliar
with the Byzantine liturgy, an expert provided a regular explanation
of "the spirituality and the prayers of the first Eastern fathers."
On Friday, April 15, the 8th of the novendiali Masses will be
designated particularly for the religious communities of Rome.
Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti, the secretary of the
Congregation for Religious, will be the principal celebrant.