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

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Detroit Bids Farewell To Father Ghattas Khoury; Pastor to Assume New Leadership in Phoenix

Fr. Ghattas Khoury, Pastor of the Cathedral of St. Maron's Maronite Church in Detroit (center) flanked by Melkite Bishop John Samra and Chaldean Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim during the Patriarchal Mass in July at the old Cathedral.
Father Ghattas Khoury was born in the village of Bekafra in Lebanon the hometown of St. Sharbel. He moved to the United States of America in 1989. He served proudly and with distinction several parishes in Willington, West Virginia, Youngstown Ohio, Cincinnati Ohio, and currently as pastor of the Cathedral of St. Maron Church in Detroit MI. As of October 1st, he will assume the role of Pastor of St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church in Phoenix, AZ.
Under his spiritual leadership while in Detroit, St.Maron's parish community experienced a renaissance and seats began to fill again at Sunday mass. Fr. Ghattas was instrumental in assembling over 1000 people of various faiths at a special memorial service following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. He has been extremely ecumenical - attending and participating in many Christian-Muslim affairs and events.
Fr. Ghattas restructured the parish council leadership at St. Maron's resulting in a regrowth of church activities. A very budget conscience and visionary leader, he oversaw building improvements to the church and banquet facility. In an effort to keep church expenses down, he personally attended to the landscape of the church grounds, mowing the lawn himself.
In 2006, and at the bequest of Fr. Ghattas, Maronite Cardinal Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, accepted his invitation to travel to the United States from Lebanon to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of a Maronite Eparchy (Diocese) in America with Detroit as its first seat.
It is evident that Fr. Ghattas is a man of deep prayer who makes liturgical celebrations central to events - making clear the link between faith and unity. He inspires, promotes and supports all the ministries of the church. These ministries embody, more often than not, selfless, sacrificial giving, exemplifying the mission of Fr. Ghattas.
A compassionate pastor, a spiritual leader, a man with a beautiful mind and quick wit, a joyful celebrant of the Holy Scripture, a prolific writer and speaker, a discerning advocate of Lebanese unity, Fr. Ghattas sees merit in all who enter the doors of the Cathedral. An avid reader, archivist and biblical historian, he is a tremendous motivational advisor, counselor and teacher.
An outstanding Servant of God, he is steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. With the power of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Ghattas has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the foundation of the Maronite mission, leading his flock to worship and praise.
Considered a "pastor's pastor" by his many parishioners, fellow clergy and church leaders, Fr. Ghattas' honesty, integrity and desire to know God gain him the respect and admiration of Maronite leaders worldwide. He is truly driven by an amazing love for people of all ages, races, nationalities and walks of life.
His service and ministry at the Cathedral of St. Maron's coupled with his uplifting message of hope that has touched the lives of so many Maronites will be unforgettable. A priest in the true sense of the word, Fr. Ghattas, visited the sick, attended to the needy, prayed for the deceased, and pastored to the Maronite community in Detroit with an unselfish passion. We wish him well on his new journey.

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">