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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Akouri Extends Congratulations to Cousin: His Grace Simon Atallah, Maronite Bishop of Baalbek-Deir El Ahmar, Lebanon on 3rd Anniversary of Ordination

February 11, 2006: Patriarch blesses four just-ordained BishopsCardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir, Maronite patriarch, center, blesses four bishops during their ordination ceremony in Bkerke, Lebanon, Feb. 11. The bishops are Simon Atallah of Baalbeck-Deir el-Ahmar, Georges Bou-Jaoude of Tripoli, Francois Eid of Cairo, Egypt, and Elias Nassar of Saida.
(WASHINGTON, DC)...John Akouri today congratulated his cousin, His Grace, Bishop Simon Atallah of Baalbeck-Deir el-Ahmar, Lebanon on this the third anniversary of his ordination ceremony.
"Today, my family and I are proud to commemorate this joyous day in which one of our own was ordained a Bishop, continuing his journey in the service of the Lord and his people," said Akouri, of the former Superior General of the Antonine Maronite Order. "We congratulate Bishop Atallah for his decades of service to the Lord and promise him our prayers for his continued well-being and service to the Maronite Church. We ask God to grant Sayedna a long life filled with purity, goodness and heavenly grace as he continues his bountiful service in the vineyard of the Lord. He is truly an inspiration, and a guiding star to Maronites around the world, and our family shares in an abundance of joy on this special day."
The Akouri family has a long and active history in the Maronite Church with their ancestors originally hailing from the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, where Akouri's paternal grandfather was caretaker of St. Michael Maronite Cathedral. The dedication and leadership of his maternal grandmother led to the raising of funds and development of a new Maronite church in Detroit a half century ago. Akouri's father Fouad has served as a cantor in Maronite churches across Lebanon, Canada and the United States, and continues to do so still today.
Akouri was baptized in the Maronite Church by Msgr. Michael Abdoo and served as an Altar Server for many priests including, H.E. Archbishop Francis M. Zayek and the late Chor-Bishop Joseph Feghali.
At the bequest of and under the leadership and guidance of Msgr. Kenneth Michael, Akouri served on the James & Kathleen Tamer Gathering Place Board of Directors, following the construction of the facility on the campus of St. Sharbel Church in suburban Detroit, Michigan. Akouri also served on the Cathedral of St. Maron Maronite Church Parish Council during the notable administration of beloved priest and pastor Father Ghattas Khoury, currently of Phoenix, Arizona.
Akouri has met with His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, during both his visits to Capitol Hill and the Lebanese Embassy in 2001 & 2005. During the 2006 visit of the Patriarch to Detroit, Akouri presented the leader of the Maronite church with a specially engraved plaque commemorating the 40th anniversary of the forming of the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron at the site of the first Maronite Cathedral in the United States. And in Washington, DC, at the invitation of Chorbishop Seeley Beggiani, Akouri attended the groundbreaking of the new wing at the Maronite Seminary.
For over a decade, Akouri hosted the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Princess Madiha Benefit Gala. An event that started with a modest dozen or so patrons – today numbers annually over 500 guests and has raised in excess of a quarter million dollars for the facility founded by the late Lebanese Maronite Christian Danny Thomas in Memphis, Tennessee. He began serving as master of ceremonies for the annual benefit in 1994 and continued to do so during his appointment on Capitol Hill as Washington Press Secretary and Senior Advisor to former US Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI).
The news of then-Abbott Atallah's elevation was announced from the Vatican, on Dec. 28 2005, just months after the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. At that time, the Holy Father approved the canonical election Fr. Abbott Simon Atallah, O.A.M., Superior of the Convent of Saint John in Ajaltoun, Lebanon, as Bishop of Baalbek - Deir El-Ahmar of the Maronites. The area consists of 30,000 Catholics, 14 priests, 20 religious, and 2 permanent deacons. Bishop Atallah was born in 1937 in Hemayri, Lebanon, took his vows in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1963.
In a recent news article, Bishop Atallah discussed the situation in Lebanon, noting that reading the Bible and listening to the word of God are the surest ways to find hope in difficult situations and to foster unity among Christians -- and even among members of different religions. Bishop Atallah said the forces that are trying to destabilize Lebanon" are trying to silence the word of God" among both Christians and Muslims. "Both Muslims and Christians have seen that it is not weapons and war that give hope for the future, but God," he said Feb. 27, 2008 during the annual conference of bishop-friends of the Focolare Movement, a worldwide Catholic lay movement. The 2008 conference focused on the Scriptures in preparation for the October world Synod of Bishops on the Bible. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of Prague, Czech Republic, told reporters that when the communists controlled every aspect of organized religion in his country people were left only with their Bibles.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">