By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff – October 26. 2017
On Oct. 22, Father Bassam Saade, pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church Maronite Rite celebrated 25 years of priesthood with his community and guests from near and far.
Bishop Gregory Mansour of Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn attended and surprised the community by presiding at the Saturday evening service. Over the course of the Sunday evening reception, Father Saade was presented with a plaque from his former parish of St. Louis Gonzaga in Utica, NY where he served for 16 years.
The National Apostolate of Maronite, formed to bring all of the Maronite community together, gave him a plaque thanking him for his service as did the Order of St. Charbel for those who support the seminary and retired priests. And his parish community presented him with a souvenir book full of photos, well wishes, notes of appreciation and love.
Despite many difficult experiences in his life, such as living through the Lebanese Civil War and experiencing personal loss, Father Saade exudes joy and gratitude. From his gentle manner to his graceful language, he shares his love of God with all whom he meets.
During the Sunday service, Bishop John Noonan quipped that Bishop Mansour was a father to Father Saade, but Bishop Noonan considers himself the father-in-law indicating his fondness of the Maronite priest whom Bishop Noonan says is “the kindest man I know.”
When remembering the many guests, recounting the details of the Mass, celebrations, and artfully decorated hall adorned with white orchids and slivers of silver, Father Saade said with relish in his voice, “It was like walking into the movie Frozen. It was unforgettable. I will celebrate it all my life. With the grace of God I will celebrate my 50th year.”