July 24, 2022Download the Bulletin as a PDF
24 July 2022
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
7th Sunday post Pentecost
St. Charbel Mahklouf
Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born on May 8, 1828, one of five children born to Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. They lived in the village of Bekaa Kafra, possibly the highest in the Lebanese mountains. Makhlouf was raised in a pious Maronite Catholic home and became drawn to the lives of the saints and to the hermit life, as was practiced by two of his uncles. As a young boy, he was responsible for caring for the family's small herd of cows. He would take the herd to a grotto nearby, where he had installed an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He would spend the day in prayer.
In 1851, Makhlouf left his family and entered the Monastery of Our Lady in Mayfouq to begin his training as a monk, later transferring to the Monastery of St. Maron in Annaya, located in the Byblos District near Beirut. Here he received the religious habit of a monk and took the name Charbel, after a Christian martyr in Antioch from the 2nd century. He made his final religious profession in the Order on November 1, 1853. He was ordained six years later, on July 23, 1859, in Bkerke, and resumed a life of severe asceticism in the monastery. In 1875, Charbel was granted permission to live as a hermit at the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul. He spent the next 23 years living in solitude until his death from a stroke on December 24, 1898.
He became known as the “Miracle Monk of Lebanon” after his death. At the time of his canonization by Pope Paul VI in 1977, Bishop Francis Zayek, Eparch of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, wrote, “St. Sharbel is called the second St. Anthony of the Desert, the Perfume of Lebanon, the first Confessor of the East to be raised to the Altars according to the actual procedure of the Catholic Church, the honor of our Aramaic Antiochian Church, and the model of spiritual values and renewal. Sharbel is like a Cedar of Lebanon standing in eternal prayer, on top of a mountain.”
Saint Charbel, pray for us!
Fr. Christopher J. Pollard