Lebanon, feast of the Annunciation
Lebanon National Holiday
The Amicale Association of Former Students of the College of Saint Joseph University and the College Notre-Dame of Jamhour is one of the most prestigious and active alumni associations in the world. Its members include several Presidents of the Republic, Presidents of the Council of Ministers, Ministers, Deputies, Patriarchs, Prelates, Directors General, Ambassadors, Presidents of Associations, Presidents of Boards of Directors, Artists, Finance, science, literature and thought that have marked the history of Lebanon.
Living in a mixed country where Christians and Muslims coexist, the Association has always worked for a frank and sincere dialogue between the various components of our nation, as well as for a rapprochement of hearts and minds. His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II understood very well the importance of our country in this Muslim-majority Orient, calling it a “Message Country” and dedicating an apostolic exhortation to it, published on May 10, 1997.
In this context, since 2007, the Spiritual Commission of the Association has organized, since March 25, Annunciation Day, Islamic-Christian spiritual meetings in the Church of Our Lady of Jamhour, Jesuit fathers, Around the Blessed Virgin, knowing that Mary also holds a place of choice in Islam.
The two main initiators of these meetings are:
– Mr. Nagy el-Khoury, Secretary General of the Amicale des Anciens Pupils de Jamhour and President of the Lebanese Federation of Former Students of the Catholic Schools, who has always worked for Islamic-Christian dialogue and dreamed that one day Muslims and Christians Of the different communities can pray together. He is the organizer of the central ceremony in Jamhour and the coordinator of the peripheral events.
– Sheikh Mohamed Nokkari, a judge of the Beirut Tribunal Charei and former director general of Dar el-Fatwa for Sunni Muslims, who has always believed that Mary could play a common denominator role between Muslims and Christians.
Each year, testimonies, prayers and songs make this meeting a national event broadcast live by several televisions and followed by hundreds and hundreds of thousands of viewers in Lebanon and around the world.
Given the great success of these meetings, which have grown in importance, the organizers have been encouraged to ask the government to dedicate the 25th of March, Annunciation Day, National Day. The courageous decision was taken on 18 February 2010 by the Council of Ministers, chaired by SEM. Saad el-Hariri, who made it a day unfaithful to have more impact on all citizens.
Thus, Lebanon will have paved the way for living together in search of what unites, not what divides. And the Blessed Virgin, honored by both Christians and Muslims, is a figure that unites her children in love and respect.