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.
On December 24, 2020, the Innu indigenous community of Sheshatshiu , Canada, installed a statue of Saint Sharbel in Tshitshitua Shushep (Saint Joseph) Church, Our Lady of Snows Parish  in the Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese.
A good question will be: How did this community hear about Saint Sharbel, a saint from the other part of the world?
Here’s the story.
In 2017, Fr. Joe Pichai, from the missionary Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian), founded by St. Vincent de Paul, was asked by the Bishop of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Canada to work among the Innu indigenous people in Sheshatshiu, Our Lady of Snows Parish. The Innu people have a long history of strong faith with the Catholic Church, since they were evangelized in 1615. More about the Innu Catholic community history HERE.
Fr. Joe tells The Family of Saint Sharbel his story about encountering St Sharbel and introducing him to the Innu community:
Last year one of my parishioners, Simon Andrew, had a liver transplant in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I prayed for him and the transplant was successful. Simon returned home after the operation. Beginning of June 2020, I remember opening my iPad and while browsing through, I found a movie on St. Sharbel. I watched the whole movie, and then a desire sprouted in my heart to pray to St. Sharbel for his intercession for the healing of the many sick people in my community. I googled and found the email address of The Family of Saint Sharbel. I wrote them an email requesting a medal and holy oil for my friend Simon Andrew. To my surprise I got a quick reply and also a small parcel with all the things I requested.
My friend Simon was not feeling well in the fall of 2020. So he travelled to see the liver specialist at the Health Sciences Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at the beginning of October 2020. On the basis of his routine monthly blood tests, Simon was told that his body was rejecting the liver transplant. He was very upset about it. He called me that day, I told him not to lose heart and that I am praying for him and moreover I am going to start praying a Novena to St. Sharbel, especially for him. I started the Novena to St. Sharbel on October 3. Simon and his wife Tina returned from St. John’s by car, a three-day trip. By this time, he was so physically unwell that he was unable to drive. He got back to our town and went straight to the Labrador Grenfell Regional Hospital in Goose Bay Labrador and was admitted overnight. He was again told that they could do nothing for him, but they increased his anti-rejection drugs anyway. They did the blood work and reported that his kidneys are not working well. He was devastated. He was really down and gave up hope. I gave him hope. I asked him to join in the 9 days of the Novena prayers and on the last day of the Novena I anointed him and gave him the medal I received from The Family of Saint Sharbel.
By Fr. Richard Kunst
When Pope John Paul the Great was criticized for canonizing so many saints, he acknowledged that he did, indeed, deliberately raise more saints to the altar than any of his predecessors, because he believed we are living in a time that needs saints as witnesses more than ever. There have been books written about the people he canonized and beatified, and it is quite refreshing to read about many of them, because we can identify with people from our own era who lived a heroic faith life.
As much as I like hagiography, the study of the saints, I have to admit that many of them, living in a different era, seem to be a bit untouchable, or even unreal. In many cases they became “kitsch,” entering so much into the piety of worldwide Catholicism that they became little more than statues. I am reminded of St. Therese of Lisieux who has rightly been called the greatest saint of modern times. Her statue seems to be in a majority of churches, but I’d like to know how many people in the pews actually know anything about her life.
Reflecting on the life of St. Charbel calls to mind a common frustration among my brother priests and me. On a regular basis, many people come into Mass late. Often they are so late they miss one or two of the readings. It is even more common for whole portions of the church to be empty after communion. While we are happy that these people at least come to Mass, think of the contrast between our experience and that of St. Charbel, who would spend hours in prayer both before and after receiving communion.
We would never go to a movie late, or leave before the story was over. Why in the world, then, would we do that with the Divine Liturgy where heaven and earth meet?
St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori (1696-1787), born 130 years before St. Charbel, believed that if we didn’t receive our first communion until we turned 100, we would still not have sufficient time to prepare. At another time, he said that once we receive communion, twelve angels surround us, worshiping what we just consumed. Obviously, that is not dogma, but it is food for thought if we are tempted to leave Mass early.
The saints are always icons of having lived the Gospels, including those who seem to be so different from us. St. Charbel is a great example of this. I pray to him that through his intercession more people will grow in awe and reverence for Christ’s Eucharistic presence. —Father Rich
St. Charbel, pray for us!
Blessed Pope Paul VI canonized Charbel Makhluf on October 9, 1977.
The Divine Liturgy for this feast was celebrated by Father Theodore Trinko (Institute of the Incarnate Word). “The Family of Saint Sharbel” participated in the celebration along with the Lebanese community in the area, as well as other pilgrims of the National Shrine.
Father Trinko concluded: “Everything in him was God’s and because of his generosity he received the promise of our Lord, a hundred times more than he gave up in his life, and eternal life and in the age to come. We can imitate Saint Sharbel’s generosity, and all of us can say yes to God no matter what He asks and no matter what He expects from us. Cheap souls will never make it to Heaven, and we will never save ourselves if you continue to put limits on what we will give to God.
At the shrine of Saint Sharbel, the Family of Saint Sharbel offered complimentary prayer cards to pilgrims.
Watch the video.
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.