Press release from the Maronite Bishops
Bkerke- 1/3/2000

On Wednesday, 1 March 2000, their Excellencies the Maronite Bishops held at Bkerkeh their monthly meeting. It was was presided  by His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah-Butros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. They discussed church matters and reviewed the present situation. At the end of the meeting , the following communiqué was issued:

1-They assessed the celebrations that took place in Rome, on the occasion of St.Maron’s feast in the Grand Jubilee Year, the dedication of the Maronite College center in the Capital of Catholicism, the collective meeting with His Holiness the Sovereign Pontiff, John Paul II, and His Holiness encouraging paternal words in which he urged them and the people of Lebanon to overcome all difficulties encountered in their daily life.

2-His Beatitude updated the Fathers about the visit His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Egypt, his meeting with the religious leaders, the ecumenical encounter that took place, and the friendly reception His Holiness received from officials and public, specially upon his visit to St.Catherine Convent at the Sinai Mountain, where God revealed to Moses the ten Commandments.

3- The Fathers reviewed the country's internal situation in general , specially the economic difficulties. They focused upon the anxiety afflicting mainly young generations and in particular university students. They do not hide their worries when they say with bitterness: "we obtain high degrees, but will we find jobs in our country, or we will be forced to emigrate causing , thus, a great loss to Lebanon?

4- The Fathers stated that talks about parliamentary elections shift back and forth, but the striking thing is that there is no hope in achieving the requested change as long as candidates beg for the post  influential forces before declaring their platforms to the people.. On the other hand the Lebanese people ignore their power to make the change needed despite of all influences. We urge them to elect those candidates who are able to raise the country from its lasting tumble.

5- Next week starts the blessed season of Lent. It is the time to get nearer to God and people by repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, performing good deeds, assisting charity institutions, making pilgrimage to holy places, specially this year, year of the Grand Jubilee which means spiritual renewal, strengthening faith in God and enhancing self confidence for a beneficial new start towards a better future.