MAR ELIAS COLLEGE NEWSLETTER

Christ is Risen, He is Truly Risen!

This is the only priceless gift we have and wish to offer you. It is true: He is risen! Come and see we have his empty Tomb. This is our religion. This is the Good News. This is the fundament of our faith. Because of the Resurrection we can call each other : brother , sister. Yes, because we accept to call each other Brother and Sister we can turn, all together, to the Heavenly God, to the only One true God and call Him: OUR FATHER...Hallowed be thy name...thy kingdom come, thy will be done ...Give us our daily bread...forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us ...Protect us from temptation ...and deliver us from evil.

We are your children, gathered in your name. Your only Begotten Son is with us. He is The Member of this community, of this body. He is The Head. Bless and save us because we are His body. .The Body of the believers. Because of the Empty Tomb and the Risen Lord we already rejected once for good the old privileges of Jews against Gentiles, of Man against Woman, of Lord against slave. We did and do accept the reality and the truth revealed by your own son our Master and Saviour: we are all called to become adopted children of God. Your adopted children .

We recognize that before we are Christians, Moslems, or Jews, we were and are still born babies in your image with your likeness. We are all followers and spiritual children of the gentile man: your Friend Abraham. I am tempted to paraphrase and adapt that biblical reality to our present time in the big Holy Land; Palestine /Israel: we proclaim loud and clear without any ambiguity: Because of the Empty Tomb and the Risen Lord. We deny any privilege for Jew against Palestinian, for palestinian against Jew, for Chisrtian against Moslem, Jew or Druze. For religious people against secular. For Catholic against Orthodox. For reformed christians against not-yet-reformed Christians.

We rejected ceremonies and titles and stick to mission and responsibility. We are marching towards our own resurrection. We have no time for discrimination, for arrogance, for exclusivism. We need every one with his own divine gift. We need all of us in order to witness the awesome surprise of the good news: He is risen. We have been restored. We rediscovered that we were all and each of us born babies in His image, with His likeness. Isn't it worth repeating least we forget? CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS TRULY RISEN.

Come and join him in the Galilee of the Resurrection We are waiting for you to come. In Galilee, The Mount of Ligh; was mysteriously "pregnant" with Mar Elias College. When the time came in 1982 The mountain gave birth to the giant MAR ELIAS COLLEGE. It was like a mustard seed, small, unnoticed, harmless, fragile, poor, exactly like a small healthy baby. The baby grows bigger, older and wiser...so does the small school. From 80 children 14-15 years old with four teachers with bachelor degrees, it grew to the present day with 2600 students (14 to 35 years old) and teachers holding 55 Ph.D, 60 Masters degree holders and 45 bachelor degrees ... It is still growing: among the students 560 are university students...

So far the hardest decision we have taken was to reduce the number of the high school students in order to have some more rooms for the university students. WE DO NOT WANT TO CLOSE THE SECONDARY SCHOOL. We rather need to open the college and have rooms for the college students. This is a unique opportunity for christians in the Holy Land: to develop Mar Elias College into a university for the year 2000. We are negociating with the Technion Institute in Haifa and with the Tel-Aviv University for partnership. Some of our outstanding Christians, who so far are employed in prestigious western universities are ready to move back to Mar Elias. Some have already moved. They are now members of Mar EliasFaculty . Our top priority are the classrooms, then the dorms for female students. Come let us join hands, like you already have done collectively through the Pilgrims of Ibillin in the U.S.A. or the Elijah Trust in the U.K. or the Friends of La Vie in France. Do not underestimate what you can do. It is with small gifts that big projects have been built. We continue to enjoy the visits of many groups from all over the world.

They are a source of encouragement and a blessing for us in Galilee. Individual friends bless us with their private visits as do larger groups.

You have many ways to contact us. Our secretary Susan is always there ready to help with a beautiful smile. Our new assistant a local lady from Nazareth but living in Ibillin, Ikhlass, speaks writes and reads : Arabic, Hebrew, English, French and Italian. I only need to speak out and my words become a Fax, an e-mail or a letter. In case I am absent, I don't need to worry any more . It is time to inform you about what you have already guessed : Janet is no more working for us. She was efficient in her own field... But since there is a time to come and time to go... No matter how painful ... the time had come for Janet to go. She gave us two and a half years. That was very generous of her. We are grateful for every good help she offered to the school.

We just finished the Muslim Ramadan. This period of serious fasting affected us deeply and very specially this year. Abuna has been invited many times to speak about the meaning of fasting in gatherings of many hundreds of Moslems and others during the evening breakfast. What a beautiful opportunity for better solidarity and partnership in the faith of Abraham the Patriarch from Iraq, Mesopotamia We decided for next year's Ramadan to organize and start a prayer breakfast at Mar Elias College; for as many christians, Moslems and Jews as possible. We hope to be connected then with some of our American Friends who so far organize the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. Ours would be a real BREAK -of the- FAST; while theirs is still a breakfast looking more like a -fast break- for breakfast . The Center For Religious Pluralism is reactivated after a period of preparations for the new series of lectures on "The VOICES OF ISAIAH."It coincides with the Christian time of the Great Lent. Every Tuesday evening we shall spend three hours listening to the voices of Isaiah, the man, the prophet , the school , the message and Isaiah in the Jewish worship and in the Christian worship. We have the feeling that we are approaching a giant human being and a giant man of God. WE WISH TO HAVE ALL OF YOU JOINING US EVERY WEEK TILL WE REACH THE PEAK, just before the celebration of the Holy Week. Then we shall come back to you beloved sisters and brothers with the same message with the same strength and the same good news:

CHRIST IS RISEN ! HE IS TRULY RISEN !

Abuna Elias Chacour
Be sure to check our home page on the Web at http://www.m-e-c.org