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2nd International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 1998

An Especially Beautiful Ecumenical Gift from Syria
to the Mother of All Nations

At the end of the Holy Mass, Msgr. Maakaroun, Archbishop of Lattaquié, unexpectedly and spontaneously gave Our Lady a golden thurible in the name of all Arabic nations as a sign of thankfulness.

Dear friends,
It is a great pleasure for me that I may represent, in a certain sense, the orient and all nations who call Miriam our mother.
In the Koran of our Muslim brothers, the name Miriam is used more than three hundred times. All the Catholic churches there which are consecrated to Our Lady are called the "churches of the Lady." In the name of my people, my Church, and also in your name, I would like to give Our Mother Mary this thurible [used for incense in liturgical celebrations].

On this thurible hang twelve small golden bells: three for the orient, three for the west, three for the north, and three for the southern nations. There are some bells which ring but others which remain silent. The silent bells represent those who still lead lives of sin.

In the name of all languages and nations of the world, I would like, therefore, to present this golden thurible to Our Mother Mary. Let us not forget that our cross always has two sides: it is the cross of the passion and death, and the cross of the resurrection.

I give this thurible to Our Lady in the name of the suffering and the joyful; I give this in the name of all the Christians and Muslims of the orient, in the name of Syria, and in the name of Lebanon, my homeland.

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