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The final yes of Br. Bahjat Azrié

29/09/2008: Syria

On 14th September, Br. Bahjat Azrié pronounced his final vows in the Syrian cathedral of Aleppo, his native city. The Eucharist was presided over by Monsignor Giuseppe Nazzaro, the apostolic vicar of the country.

Among the people who attended the cathedral (completely filling it) were the Brothers of the community of Syria, together with those from Lebanon, as well as scout groups and members of different groups of the Marist family from the city. Of course, there was no lack of Br. Bahjat’s relatives, including his mother Afaf Azrié and his uncle Georges, who is also a Marist. There was also a group of Brothers and friends from Murcia (Spain), where Bahjat is living at the moment.

Br. Manuel Jorques, Provincial of the Mediterranean Province, gave the homily in Spanish which was translated simultaneously into Arabic. Speaking directly to Brother he told him among other things: Either you give your life for Jesus and you live as a committed person with all its consequences or you will lose the sense of your consecration and of your life.

After communion Brother Bahjat gave thanks to God for the gift of life, of his family and of his Brothers who have accompanied him over the last ten years of his Marist life. Today, Lord, I want to give you thanks - he added - for your presence in my life, mainly in those moments when there was more darkness than light and doubt was stronger than truth and loneliness stronger than love. Thank you because you have held my hand, you have lifted me up and you have encouraged me to open my heart to your assistance. Thank you, Lord, for your grace which, today, makes it possible for me to say yes for all my life. Thank you, Lord, for your love. I want to love, support my poor love”.

A specially moving moment for Brother was when he received an embrace from the rest of the Brothers from Lebanon and Syria, because he saw in that expression a sign of hope, since from 1980 there had been no perpetual profession in that area of the Institute.

The motto that Br. Bahjat chose for that day was: To make Jesus Christ known and loved, which is the aim of your vocation and of the Institute. In harmony with this prayer, a Murcian artist designed a drawing which incorporated this prayer of Fr. Champagnat and which could be seen in different elements of the occasion.

Bahjat was aware as a boy of the witness of his uncle Georges and belonged to the group of scouts of Aleppo directed by the Brothers. This enabled him to visit the community, where he soon came to know the lifestyle and the way the Brothers treated the children and young people.

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