Memorial Mass celebrated for Fr. Sami Totah in New York

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Memorial Mass celebrated for Fr. Sami Totah in New York

Yonkers-Abouna

Fr. Ala Nadim Alamat, the acting priest of the parish of the Good Shepherd in Yonkers-New York, on Saturday, July 26, delivered a speech at the outset of the Mass presided over by Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal in memory of the late parish priest Fr. Sami Totah, who served the parish for 37 years. Present at the Mass were clergymen and a large number of the faithful. Following is the text of the speech:

Your Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem,
It is said that every special event has a special speech. But God knows I did not find anything special to say today... For the reality of death is painful, and the person who has left us, was here for us and one from us and with us for 37 years as a priest, a father, a brother, a shepherd, a leader, a loving and a generous friend. I do not know if I shall stand by your side, your Beatitude to condole with you the parishioners of The Good Shepherd Church, for their grave loss of Fr. Sami who was their priest! Or should I rather stand next to the parishioners to condole you for the death of Fr. Sami, who was a son of the Latin Patriarchate and a brother of yours!

If crying helps, we would have cried filling the world with rivers of tears! If traditional mercy food helps, we would have prepared banquets with abundant food! Unfortunately, all these things are useless in front of the fact that Fr. Sami has died. instead, with hearts full of faith in the loving God, and full of hope in the resurrection, we say: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised... Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

Nevertheless, what really helps us and what really benefits him, here and now, is the love, which overcomes the horror of death. And, as an expression of our love to Fr. Sami, we came today to pray together, offering the Sacramental Sacrifice for the repose of his soul. And that is the greatest work ever that the Christian believer can do for the loved ones who are asleep in the Lord. In addition, we, rather than mourn him, first have to thank God for him, and rather than mourn because God took him from us, first we have to thank God because He gave him to us. We shall do as King Solomon did (in the first reading); outlining the blessings he has already received: Therefore, We thank God for Fr. Sami; for his person, for his priesthood, for his service, we thank God for the friendship Fr. Sami showed to the priests of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for throughout the last 37 years, there have been about 24 priests who came over to this parish in order to cover for Fr. Sami during his vacations and during the Holy Seasons. They all loved him and he also loved them; you all loved them and they loved you in return... We thank God for the generosity of Fr. Sami to the projects of our patriarchate in the Holy Land, and especially of the Latin Seminary in Palestine and of the Center of Our Lady of Peace in Jordan... We thank God for having Fr. Sami (who was the first Arab priest sent to serve the Arab-catholic community in the United States) attend the ordination of Fr. Bernard Poggi, one week before he died.

Fr. Bernard is the first Arab Catholic priest from the Latin Patriarchate who was ordained in the United States. Fr. Alawas was standing behind him, and it was Fr. Sami sitting in the wheel-chair while Fr. Bernard was at his feet kneeling. What a mesmerizing moment!!! We also thank God because Father Sami died surrounded by his family, by some of his parishioners and by some loving priests of the patriarchate... We thank God for his service to the parish of the Good Shepherd in Yonkers for 37 years during which he granted the baptism sacrament to 674 children. He also granted the sacrament of marriage to 228 couples; and he performed 148 burials. Thank you, O Lord for all these and other countless blessings.

Your Beatitude... we take into consideration the circumstances you are passing through and excuse you for your inability to attend the burial ceremony in San Francisco with Fr. Sami’s first family, and at the same time, we thank you very much for changing your programs and for coming to celebrate this Holy Memorial Mass with his second family, with his parishioners whom he loved and who loved him.

Fr. Sami, may your soul rest in peace,and may your memory be eternal… Well done, good and faithful servant: enter into the joy of your Lord

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 13:09
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