The Marian solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrated March 25, 2019, in Lebanon as a national holiday, “is part of the Lebanese mission. Lebanese Christians and Muslims manifest their veneration together for the Holy Virgin Mary, who becomes a common treasure shared by all believers. Mary is the mother who brings us together.”
This was stressed by Judge Jean D. Fahed, President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary and First President of the Court of Cassation in Lebanon, authoritative representative of the lay Catholics called to hold important positions in Lebanese civil institutions, reported March 26, 2019, by Fides News Agency.
The most important official public celebration of the national feast of the Annunciation was held on the evening of Monday 25 March at the Grand Serail, headquarters of the Lebanese government in Beirut. But also several churches and shrines in the Country have hosted celebratory moments that have involved the local Christian and Muslim communities.
“This feast,” Fahed said, “is a real blessing and has its roots in popular devotion for Mary even by Muslim believers. If you visit the Marian Shrine of Harissa, you will find many Muslims. But also the shrine of St. Charbel is visited by many Muslim believers, both Shiites and Sunnis, who invoke his intercession and ask God to bless them and to heal them. And the love they manifest for the Virgin Mary is also a propitious occasion to hear about Christ. When Muslims open up to Mary in a certain sense they also open up to Christ. Because you cannot think of the Virgin Mary by separating her from Jesus.”
Many Christians in Lebanon prefer to invest their human resources in the world of private, more profitable companies. Fahed, linked to the ecclesial experience of the Renewal of the Spirit, is part of the group of baptized who, with more determination, have chosen Lebanese civil institutions as a specific area in which to offer their Christian witness.
“We are called to bear witness to our faith in our daily work, doing our daily work well among others and with others,” Fahed said. “In that context, we also have the opportunity to talk about our faith, the Word of God, our participation in the life of the Church. And we experience that it is possible to live together, Christians and Muslims, sharing the same service to the common good, respecting the rights of every human being.”