What to expect the first time you attend a Maronite Church

The Maronite Church is a place for Everybody
Jesus said: ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17).  All are welcome in the Maronite Church. The Maronite Church is not for a single person or nation. We wish all to be with us in the body of Christ.
The Maronite Church is named after Saint Maroun, a monastic who lived in the fourth century and was known as a healer of the body and spirit. The Maronites belong to one of the eighteen Eastern churches in union with the Universal Catholic Church.

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The Maronite Liturgy
The Maronite liturgy is the living treasure and spiritual homeland of our Church and we want everyone to experience it. Our Liturgy is from the ancient cities of Antioch and Edessa and is West Syriac in origin. It is called the Qorbono which means offering.

Our liturgical language is Syriac.  Syriac has come from Aramaic which is the language Jesus spoke. We retain the Syriac language in certain parts of our Liturgy. You will hear Syriac words after the entrance hymn, after the prayer of forgiveness when we ask for the Lord’s mercy, at the beginning of the pre-anaphora when the priest approaches the altar and at the words of the Consecration Eucharist.

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Maronites stand for prayer during the Liturgy. At the consecration of the Eucharist we are called to rise up before our Lord. We must be confident that we are ready to stand before God to be judged, for we do not know when judgement will come. We rise as faithful daughters and sons in faith. Each Sunday is a constant reminder to us of the state of readiness we are in to stand before God. The posture prepares us to stand in confidence before the risen Christ when He comes again in glory. By standing we are alert, attentive and ready.

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Peace is distributed from the altar. The priest gives peace to the deacons and servers who distribute it to the faithful. The servers will present their hands closed together and it is taken by the receiver and shared from one faithful to another.

Communion is generally distributed by way of intinction. This means the priest dips the consecrated bread (the body of Christ) into the consecrated wine (blood of Christ) and communion is given on the tongue. Only those who have had first Holy Communion receive communion. Children who have not had Holy Communion should cross their arms across their chest to signal to the priest they have not had communion and receive a blessing instead.

The Liturgy requires active participation. The more you participate the more you will get out of the Liturgy.

In Christ,
Theresa Simon