Windows on Worship
St. Anthony and St. George Maronite Catholic Parish
Maliak and Anthony Khoudary sing during a recent Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Wilkes-Barre. There are 315 families 315 registered within the St. Anthony’s –St. George’s parish community.
The Maronite Rite of the Catholic Church is one of 23 rites within the Catholic Church in full communion with the pope. Maronite Catholics maintain their own traditions of theology, liturgy and spirituality that are quite different from those usually associated with “Roman” or Latin (Western) Catholicism. St. Anthony and St. George Parish have deep roots in the Lebanese and Middle Eastern Heritage of the Maronite Church.
The Times Leader recently asked Monsignor William Bonczewski, pastor, to share some information about his parish. Here is what he had to say:
Name of church/parish: St. Anthony and St. George Maronite Catholic Parish
Religious affiliation: Maronite Catholic Rite
Address/phone: St. Anthony’s is located at 315 Park Ave. and St. George’s is at 79 Loomis St., both are in Wilkes-Barre.
Size and character of congregation: “We have 315 registered families in our parish. We are more of an elderly congregation and we’re a little larger than the average Maronite parish. The roots of our parish is Middle Eastern and many of our people appreciate the Lebanese and Middle Eastern flavor and spirituality of the parish,” said Monsignor William Bonczewski.
Spiritual leader(s): Monsignor William Bonczewski, pastor of one year, and subdeacon Crosby Sparks.
Scheduled services: Sunday Eucharist at 8 and 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s and at 4 p.m. at St. George’s. St. Theresa’s Novena is held at 4 and 7 p.m. Mondays at St. George’s
Year churches were built: St. Anthony’s in 1919; St. George’s in 1913
Mission statement: “We are called to be faithful to our baptism, the life of the Catholic Church, and our Eastern Maronite traditions,” said Bonczewski.
Handicapped accessible: St. Anthony’s is but not St. George’s.
Church Web site: www.stanthonystgeorge.org
Worship style: “Our liturgy is mainly in English though we maintain the use of Lebanese and Syriac, the language our Lord spoke, for key elements of the liturgy. We also use chant in our liturgy,” said Bonczewski.
Proudest moment: “We’re very proud of the amount of vocations that have come from our parish. We have had 11 vocations to the priesthood (nine from St. Anthony’s and two from St. George’s) and many religious women. Chorbishop George Webby, who was the Vicar General of our diocese, was a member of our parish,” said Bonczewski.
Greatest hope: “My greatest hope is that every one of our members becomes a saint,” said Bonczewski.
Longest-standing parishioner: “Cecelia Koury, 94, is our oldest member of St. Anthony’s. She owned a grocery store in the neighborhood for many years. Jim Elias, 92, is our oldest member of St. George’s. Jim still joins us for Mass each week,” said Bonczewski.
What makes your church special? “Our St. Theresa’s Novena is in its 80th year and that is very special to us. We also have a strong family atmosphere here within our parish and with our families. We love to laugh, embrace, and even sometimes fight like families do,” said Bonczewski.
Any special programs and events upcoming? The 80th anniversary of the St. Theresa’s Novena will be marked by a special celebration on Oct. 1 of this year.
Compiled by Fr. Bob Timchak
Tell us about your place of worship:
“We’re very proud of the amount of vocations that have come from our parish. We have had 11 vocations to the priesthood (nine from St. Anthony’s and two from St. George’s) and many religious women. Chorbishop George Webby, who was the Vicar General of our diocese, was a member of our parish.”
Monsignor William Bonczewski.