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His Holiness Pope Francis

Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires. His father was a railway worker who immigrated to Argentina from Italy, and his mother was a housewife of Italian origin. Bergoglio had four siblings. 

After earning a secondary school degree as a chemical technician, Bergoglio felt a call to the priesthood as a Jesuit, joining the novitiate in 1958, at the age of 22.

He was ordained a priest on Dec. 13, 1969. In 1973 he made his perpetual vows in the Society of Jesus and the same year was elected Jesuit provincial for Argentina. He would go on to serve as a seminary rector, a pastor, a professor, and a spiritual director.

In 1992 Fr. Bergoglio was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Buenos Aires archdiocese. He became the archdiocese’s coadjutor archbishop in 1997, and succeeded as archbishop the following year. St. John Paul II named Archbishop Bergoglio a cardinal in 2001.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was known for his humble demeanor. He stayed in a modest apartment and took public transit. He also showed a special regard for the poor, whom he frequently visited. 

On March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected to the papacy, at the age of 76. He was the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to become pope.

His Beatitude Joseph Absi

“The Christians of the East,” he said, “are all in the same boat, and confront the same struggle. They cannot be disinterested each in the other.” The new patriarch holds licentiates in philosophy and theology, and a doctorate in musical sciences and Byzantine hymnography from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon. He has taught philosophy, Greek, and musicology at the university level. Pope Francis wrote to Patriarch Joseph the day after his election, congratulating him and granting him ecclesiastical communion.

The Pope also noted the tribulation facing Christians in the region. “The election of Your Beatitude comes at the time of a delicate situation for the venerable Greek-Melkite Church and when many Christian communities in the Middle East are called to bear wit-ness in a special way to their faith in the dead and risen Christ,” the Roman Pontiff said. “In this particularly difficult time, pastors are called upon to manifest communion, unity, closeness, solidarity, and transparency
before the suffering people of God. “I am certain that your Beatitude, in fraternal harmony with all the Synod Fathers, will know, in all evangelical wisdom, how to be not only Pater et Caput [Father and Head] in the service of the faithful of the
Greek-Melkite Church, but also a faithful and authentic witness to the Risen One.”

Visit- https://melkite.org/patriarchate for more information.

Most Rev. François Beyrouti, Bishop of the Eparchy of Newton

The parish of St. Basil the Great is part of the Eparchy of Newton within the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Pope Francis appointed Beyrouti Bishop for the Eparchy of Newton on August 20, 2022. On October 12, 2022, Bishop Beyrouti was consecrated, and on October 19, 2022 was installed as the 6th Eparchial Bishop of Newton.

For more information, visit the Eparchy of Newton website.

V. Rev. James Koury M.T.S (Fr.Jim), Administrator of St. Basil the Great

The Very Rev. James J. Koury, M.T.S.

Fr. Koury was born and raised in Shenandoah, a small coal-mining town in southeastern Pennsylvania.  He attended local Catholic elementary schools and graduated from Shenandoah Valley High School.  He attended DeSales University in Center Valley, PA, and graduated with a B.A. in Theology in 1987.  He earned a Master of Theological Study (M.T.S.) from the Boston Theological Institute/Holy Cross School of Theology in 1993. 

Fr. Jim’s first assignment was at St. Ann Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Woodland Park, NJ, from 1992-1993.  He assisted the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic from 1993-1996 with assignments at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA; St. Nicholas Church, Nanticoke, PA; and St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, Trenton, NJ. From 1994-1996, Fr. Jim served as pastor of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, Roebling, NJ, with its mission parish of St. Jude, Southampton, NJ.

A musician since the age of 9, Fr. Jim has studied piano, organ, vocals, and conducting, signing his first professional contract at age 16. Fr. Jim has taught music and religion at several elementary and high schools, namely Chair of Music at McCorristin Catholic High School, Hamilton, NJ; Incarnation, Mantua, NJ; and St. John the Apostle Catholic School, Virginia Beach, VA.  He has been organist, chorus member, chorus master, soloist, conductor, collaborator and presenter in numerous parishes in the Allentown, Scranton, Philadelphia, Camden, Newark, Richmond, and Boston dioceses, and with several professional chorales performing in the continental United States and Europe namely, The Cathedral of St.Catherine of Sienna, Allentown, PA;  The Philadelphia Singers Chorale; The Masterworks Chorale, Hamilton, NJ; The Philadelphia Opera Company; The Metropolitan Chorale, Brookline, MA;  and the Boston Pops “Holiday Pops” Chorale.  For 17 years Fr. Jim had a piano and vocal studio in Mantua, NJ and Virginia Beach, VA.  Two of his students became professional opera singers, and two became treble voices with the Vienna Boys’ Choir of Austria. 

In 2016, Bishop Emeritus Nicholas Samra appointed Fr. Jim as his Priest-Secretary with residence at the Eparchial Chancery in Boston (West Roxbury), with priestly assistance to Annunciation Melkite Cathedral and supply priest for the Northeast Region.  In 2020, Bishop Nicholas appointed him Eparchial Chancellor. In 2022, Bishop Nicholas bestowed the title of Very Reverend on Fr. Jim.   

Additionally, Fr. Jim is a bi-ritual priest with the Latin Church.  He served for 7 years in the Archdiocese of Boston as chaplain of the Monastery of Poor Clare Nuns, Jamaica Plain, MA as well as supply priest to Holy Name, W. Roxbury, MA; St. Mary, Waltham, MA; St. John Chrysostom, W. Roxbury, MA; and the Daughters of St. Paul Motherhouse, Jamaica Plain, MA. 

In March of 2023, Bishop François Beyrouti appointed Fr. Jim Administrator of St. Basil the Great Melkite Catholic Church.  The appointment took effect on May 12.


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