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A note from Bishop Chbeir

June 14, 2023

Editor’s note: Bishop Terry R. LaValley recently received the following correspondence from Bishop Antoine Chbeir, bishop of the Diocese of Latakia in Syria. The Diocese of Ogdensburg is in a “twinning relationship” with that diocese through it’s Solidarity in Faith initiative. Learn more at rcdony.org/about/solidarity-in-faith. Bishop Chbeir receives the email edition of the North Country Catholic weekly.

Dear Bishop Terry,  
I hope this email finds you well as well as the clergy of the diocese, in particular Msgr. C. John McAvoy, Msgr. John Murphy, Fr. Michael Gaffney, Fr. Richard Demers, Fr. Patrick Ratigan, Fr. Robert Decker, Fr. Sony Pulickal, celebrating jubilee years of service! May the Lord bless all of them for these long years of service, and a special prayer goes for both Msgr. John Murphy and Fr. Richard Demers for not being able to attend that important event.

It is always nice to hear from you, about your activities through the diocese papers and particular thanks to Christine who has been timely providing them to me.

You never stop of surprising me with unexpected initiatives of yours which they come just in time not only for my people but for me as well, when I am in low spirits the help comes to me from the other end of the planet, knowing you care for me and my people, spending time and efforts to pray for us. 

The Diocese of Ogdensburg has been to my people and to me the physical presence of the Providence. If you know how many people pray for you from the bottom of their hearts because without you, they were hopeless.

Yesterday I celebrated the First Communion for few kids in Latakia, the most affected area by the earthquake, at the end of the month of May, the month dedicated to Our Lady. We had a little procession around the church in the street of the city, in honor of our Lady, asking her to protect us and the city (here are enclosed some photos). It was very moving to see people on their balconies, most of them Muslims, throwing flowers and rice on us and the statue.

Thank you for your continuing unwavering support to our people, for your sensitive attention to us. We do appreciate the efforts and sacrifices you are doing in our behalf. 

Distinct regards to Fr. Steven, Fr. Kevin, Christine and all who take the trouble to assist us.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers! 

+ Antoine

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