The Family of Saint Sharbel (FSS) in Nigeria continues its prayer meetings and gatherings on a regular basis, and participates actively in the spiritual activities of the parish
At times, after the regular prayer meetings, the members pay a visit to the sick offering spiritual support, and sharing some of St. Sharbel’s resources: prayer cards, holy oil, books... Occasionally, they may provide financial support for medication.
Meetings-Visits And Gifts
We join in prayer for the ministry of The Family of Saint Sharbel.
For over sixteen years, the Family of St. Sharbel has been able to extend its apostolic work to India by providing spiritual resources and devotional items to various parishes, missions, and individuals. Brother Lloyd Butello, the Family's national coordinator in India, has served as the hands and the feet—the extension—of the mission of the Family of St. Sharbel in India.
Though there is currently no Family of St. Sharbel prayer group founded in India at this time, that hasn’t stopped the spirit of the Family of St. Sharbel from spreading there. For nearly twenty years, Lloyd has collaborated with the Family of St. Sharbel, USA to provide the faithful in India with resources, both spiritual and temporal.
Most recently, during the month of October—World Mission Month—there was a collaborative effort to assist several projects, one of which ministered to the faithful of St. Peter’s Church, Koliwada.
Seeing the need in such difficult times, Sr. Janet reached out to the Family of St. Sharbel to supply the community with some devotional items including, Old Testament and New Testament Bibles in the local language, Rosaries, Scapulars, Medals, Holy Pictures, and other sacramentals. Sr. Janet has also been instrumental in spreading devotion to St. Sharbel to many sick and needy faithful. According to Lloyd, “These simple fisher folk, God fearing and devout people were so glad to receive these precious gifts…They had words of sincere gratitude for the Family of St. Sharbel and have assured their daily remembrance in prayers for their kind benefactors abroad.”
Another missionary and collaborator is Fr. Gregory Butello, a Missionary of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS) and uncle of Lloyd. Fr. Gregory has been a missionary in India for over seventeen years and works among the poor, most of whom are not Catholic. Most recently, he was transferred to St. Anthony Church, Kalambist, a mission located in the Sindhudurg Diocese where he serves a humble community of 300 Catholics. Much of the faithful have moved to nearby cities like Pune and Mumbai to seek out a better lifestyle and living conditions, but Fr. Gregory, along with the other MSFS fathers, continue to provide pastoral care to the faithful there. Upon his request, the Family of St. Sharbel was able to supply them with religious materials and devotional items in addition to catering to some of the pastoral needs of the mission.
In a recent correspondence detailing the fruits of the collaborative projects, Lloyd expresses his deep gratitude to the Family of St. Sharbel abroad: “Amid these trying times that the world is facing, we Catholics are called to be a beacon of hope and I am delighted to say that the Family of St. Sharbel is truly a beacon of hope. I hear with interest of all the various charitable projects back home and abroad, that this Family of God tries to take into hand and see to its fulfillment.
On behalf of the hundreds of lives in India that you have touched and have helped to come more closer to Jesus-A Big Thank You!”
The Family of St. Sharbel Port Harcourt 1 is a young and vibrant community in Nigeria that was founded on October 3, 2021.
Just a few months before, St. Sharbel, the hermit of Lebanon, was unknown to most at the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi, which is located forty-five minutes away from Port Harcourt, the Capital of Rivers State. It all began with the initiative of Brother Charles Opara to give a talk to the church. With the permission of Fr. Abel Okeke, the pastor of the parish, Opara shared about the life and times of St. Sharbel, which touched many of the parishioners deeply. With the help of religious books on the life of St. Sharbel, prayers cards, and sacramentals, devotion in the parish grew, and the Station Council soon adopted St. Sharbel as one of the church’s patrons with the permission of Fr. Okeke. Several individuals and families were moved to do the same and began adopting him as the patron of their own families.
Brother Charles Opara attributes this increasing devotion to the impelling life of St. Sharbel: “The pious life of St. Sharbel as narrated in the book became a turning point for most of us who read the book. It was awesome.”
From there, a prayer group was born and inaugurated by Fr. Okeke on October 3, 2021 taking on the name, “Family of St. Sharbel Nigeria, Port Harcourt 1.” There are currently twenty-two members who come together for prayer meetings every Sunday following mass.
There are members who have testimonies of the importance and impelling force to spread this spirituality in our current day and age, one of whom is Grace Osigweme of St. Francis Parish. After reading the life of St. Sharbel, she was so moved by his story and miracles, that she “cried out so deeply” to St. Sharbel to reveal himself to her in the spirit and use her to perform such miracles.
This community is vibrant in living out their faith and devotion in their own parish community but also in their desire to share it with others. Port Harcourt 1 is the first foundation in Nigeria and only the beginning. They have taken it upon themselves to spread this devotion and spirituality beyond their own parish with the plan of visiting other Catholic Churches in Port Harcourt to share the life of St. Sharbel and make him known. They have sought to acquire books, novenas, and booklets, as well as statues and sacramentals to distribute to individuals and families to promote this ever-growing spirituality.
The Family of Saint Sharbel, USA, celebrated the Feast of Saint Sharbel at the National Shrine Grotto, on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
The Family of Saint Sharbel has finished painting with gold color the black inscription on the pedestal of the statue of Saint Sharbel Shrine at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, MD. We are grateful to those who contributed to this work.
The Family of Saint Sharbel has established a new Publishing Department. More
Learn about our ongoing projects to help introduce Saint Sharbel and the Maronite spirituality to the English speaking communities.
Check out our YouTube Channels
Saint Sharbel's Miracles & Healings .
Family of Saint Sharbel, USA.