U.S. Melkite Catholics welcome new bishop to his cathedral in Roslindale
In a Divine Liturgy, Bishop Francois Elias Beyrouti was installed on Oct. 19 in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Roslindale as the sixth eparch of the Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Newton. The newly appointed bishop had been ordained to the episcopacy on Oct. 12 in the eparchy's co-cathedral of St. Ann in Los Angeles.
The Father of the Melkite Catholics, Patriarch Youssef (Joseph) Absi, came from the patriarchal residence in Lebanon for both the ordination and the installation in West Roxbury.
Annunciation Cathedral was filled with concelebrating bishops and priests, various ministers of the Divine Liturgy deacons, subdeacons, readers, and cantors, and an assembly that drew Melkite Catholics from across the United States. The eparchy covers all 50 states, so the eparch is constantly on the move, visiting his flock currently spread over the 48 continental states with concentrations of parishes in the northeast and on the Pacific coast.
The new bishop was born in Lebanon on July 3, 1971, but his parents moved to Canada, where he was raised and attended local schools in Vancouver. Following seminary studies, he was ordained a priest of the Eparchy of St. Sauveur de Montreal on Oct. 4, 1998.
Following 13 years of service to the Canadian Melkite eparchy, he was incardinated into the Eparchy of Newton on Dec. 2, 2011. Up until his appointment by Pope Francis, following his election to the Newton eparchy by the Melkite Synod, he had served in parish ministry in California as pastor of Holy Cross Melkite Parish, Placentia, California, which serves the Melkite Catholic community in Orange County.
In his installation homily, Bishop Beyrouti called on his people to join him in evangelizing and using all the means available to keep the far-flung Melkite communities in contact with each other. Referencing his episcopal motto -- "Becoming disciples, making disciples" -- he invited them to join him in the challenge of bringing the good news to family, friends, and neighbors.
The great unity in diversity that is the Roman Catholic Church was clearly in evidence at the splendid installation liturgy. The cathedral, with its multiple icons of all sizes, depicting saints, especially of the East, was aglow.
Bishops from various Roman Catholic Churches were present; among them were Cardinal O'Malley, Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester; Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester; Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland; and Boston Auxiliary Bishop Mark O'Connell from the Latin Church; from the Eastern Churches were Archbishop George Gallaro of the Holy See's Dicastery for Eastern Catholic Churches (and one-time priest in the Newton eparchy); Bishop Paul Chomnycky, of the Ukrainian eparchy of Stamford; and the new retired eparch of Newton, Bishop Nicholas Samra.
The whole assembly took an active part in the liturgy, chanting (no organ to accompany according to the Eastern style) all the parts assigned to each and all. A further example of the diversity of the Church is that the Divine Liturgy of Our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom was in three vernaculars: Greek, Arabic, and English.
There were young families; young people -- teenagers and young adults; families with grown children and their grandchildren; eparchial priests with their wives and families; and friends of the new bishop and of the local Melkite Catholic community.
Following the liturgy, there was a festive reception in the cathedral parish center.