By John-Henry Westen

Bishop Gregory John Mansour  WASHINGTON, February 9, 2007 ( – One of the Rites in the Catholic Church other than the Roman rite, is the Maronite Rite.  While centered in Lebanon where the Maronite Patriarch resides, it has adherents throughout North America as well.  The Maronite rite is unique for its celebration of central part of the Mass in Aramaic – the language Jesus spoke with his apostles.

  One of the hundreds of bishops who attended the March for Life Mass in Washington DC last month, was Maronite Bishop Gregory John Mansour who oversees the Maronite rite for all of the Eastern United States. 

  Bishop Mansour spoke with about the Maronite rite’s involvement in pro-life work.  “We are a Church with the all the rights and responsibilities of preaching the Gospel,” he said, “the fullness of the gospel – not the comfortable gospel but the whole Gospel of Life.”  The Bishop added that Maronites are “very much” involved in pro-life activities.

Bishop Leonard J. Olivier  Bishop Mansour also noted the presence of prelates from other rites within the Catholic Church including “Ukrainians and Athenians and Melkites.”  The bishop expressed joy at the great number of people of diverse backgrounds who packed the Cathedral.  “It’s a joy for us to come and celebrate the Mass together,” he said.

  Emeritus Washington Auxiliary Bishop Leonard J. Olivier was also impressed by the huge crowd which packed the Basilica.  Bishop Olivier, 83, told, “Well, I’ve been here 19 years and it’s gotten larger every year and every year more and more young people have come and so it’s a very encouraging time.  And since they are so active, they will pass on this message and this spirit to others and that will be great.”