Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Lady of Lebanon Celebrates the Ordination of One of Easton's Own

By Christina Georgiou

Father Alexander Joseph, right, greets
parishioners after his ordination Saturday
at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic
Church in Downtown Easton.
 About 400 local parishioners, visitors, and members of the clergy gathered Saturday to celebrate the ordination of Easton native Alexander Joseph Saturday at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church.

Father Alex, as he's now known, was ordained as a priest at the church Saturday morning by the Most Rev. Gregory Mansour, bishop of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, and the religious rite was followed by a noontime dinner reception at the church's banquet hall immediately afterward.

Clergy from several states along the East Coast travelled to Easton to witness and celebrate the event. They were joined by a number local Catholic clergy members as well.

The atmosphere at Our Lady of Lebanon was one of happiness and joy at the momentous occasion, and
Monsour praised Joseph's unwavering faith and dedication.

"Some people take the priesthood for granted," Monsour said. "He never has."

Joseph's ordination is the culmination of eight years of hard work and schooling. He attended Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary in Washington DC, where he currently resides, as well as Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut.

During that time, he has overcome a number of health issues as well.

Father Alexander Joseph, right, speaks at his ordination
reception Saturday, accompanied by Our Lady of Lebanon
Deacon Anthony Koury, left, and the Most Rev. Gregory
"I'm so tired," Joseph joked, thanking the crowd for their attendence and support at his ordination celebration.

"I ask you to keep me in your prayers, and be assured of mine," he added.

In addition to the prayers, congratulations, and good wishes of family, friends, and the congregation, the church's Holy Name Society and the St. Theresa Sodality gifted Joseph with a set of vestments. The gesture was clearly an emotional moment for all.

And, they will undoubtedly be useful in the immediate future, as Joseph is set to lead his first liturgy today, Sunday morning, at the church, which will also be followed by a midday dinner reception for the congregation at the banquet hall.

The ordination of Father Alexander Joseph on Saturday
drew members of the clergy from near and far.
 After that, he said, he will be returning to Washington DC where he has a room at the seminary for a couple of weeks, while the Maronite Eparchy decides where to place him permanently. During that time, he expects he will be filling in for priests in a variety of locations who are taking short vacations.

While Joseph doesn't know where his assignment will take him, he said it will most likely be somewhere within one of 16 eastern states that comprise the Washington DC eparchy, and he won't be too far away from Easton.

George Moussa, who helped in the kitchen during the
ordination reception, shows off his handiwork on a plate of
hummus. The festive occasion drew a crowd of 400 to Our
Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church on Saturday, all
of who were fed by a dedicated volunteer kitchen staff.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration," said parishioner George Moussa, who added that he's only been to one other ordination of a priest, years ago, in Lebanon. "To have someone ordained from our community, born and raised here...It's really remarkable."


Easton Mayor Sal Panto, right, with city controller and
Our Lady of Lebanon parishioner Tony Bassil.

Father Alex arrives at his ordination reception, to applause from the 400 attendees.

Prayers and blessings are offered before the food is served, and, below right,
Antoinette Elias sings the national anthem. Afterwards, left, Monsignor
Maroun Asmar leads the Lebanese national anthem.

Even the raw kibbee reflects the religious nature of the event.

Father Alexander Joseph, with his friend Deacon George Hajj, who will be ordained on July 5.

Christopher Karam, 7, of Palmer Township, happily helps with cleanup, while right, Marcella Karam, 11, hugs her brother Marc, 6.


  1. christina, thank you for documenting father joseph's big day so thoughtfully and thoroughly. michael molovinsky

  2. Very nice. Alex is one of the best.

  3. So since you didn't invite me, how was the food?

    1. It wasn't my event, so inviting anyone to someone else's celebration would be quite improper. Professional reporters don't bring guests to events they cover either.

      That said, the food was quite good, though the selection wasn't the same as at Lebanese Heritage Days, so rest assured, you didn't miss any of that awesome garlic sauce you crave.

      Seriously, pop over to Mother's and have a garlic chicken sandwich--the place is owned by some members of the Our Lady of Lebanon congregation. They make that same garlic sauce for the restaurant. Or pop over to the Mediteranean Deli on Sullivan Trail in Forks--they too are owned by members of the congregation, and their menu has a number of items served by the church in August. Or go to Daddy's Place on the 600 block of Northampton St. when they open this summer--they too are planning on offering a number of Lebanese dishes that are on the Heritage Days menu.

      Otherwise, I'm sure I'll see you at the event in August.

  4. Thank you Christina, it was a pleasure meeting you, my kids' pictures are the best, people like you make cooking for 400 people a pleasure. Come back for Heritage Days, the food will be just as good.

  5. This really was a very lovely event--it's always a pleasure doing a piece on happy news. I'm glad everyone enjoyed the story and photos.

  6. Congrats to Fr. Alex--maybe I can sing if he celebrates Mass at Holy Apostles