IMF Congress 2002
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delivered by Edward M. Salem, Chairman, International Maronite Foundation Saturday, 24 February 2001 at a Breakfast in honor of the Patriarch of all the East, Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.

"Your Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, Your Excellencies, our bishops from Lebanon, Bishop Shaheen, Bishop Chedid, Reverend Fathers."

"Seven years ago, under your sponsorship and with the encouragement and guidance of Archbishop Francis Zayek and Bishop John Chedid, an International Maronite Congress was held, and out of it came the International Maronite Foundation that has grown and flourished under your banner. We exist, Your Beatitude, pledged to you as the conscience for all who love and yearn for freedom."

"I would like to address you this morning on the commitment we have made to you, our Patriarch. We have made a commitment of fidelity, a lifetime pledge of faith in you. It is a fidelity to, first of all, our faith. It is you, who are the head of our church, and the guide of our religious and moral action. We pledge to you our fidelity for a cause, the cause of our faith: the concern for all men and humanity, the concern for our native land, of freedom and dignity, of a land free of all occupation, and freedom of thought and religious practice."

"We pledge to you a fidelity to the Patriarchy of our church as the true symbol and act of leadership for this cause. For without the patriarchy the cause of our Maronite faith, the cause of freedom for all Lebanese, would not exist. From your predecessors until now, you have been the voice of reason and hope for all Lebanese. "

"And last, we pledge fidelity to you, our leader. We have come to trust you and your wisdom as you lead us forward to a greater tomorrow in our a faith, and to freedom for Lebanon and its all of its people."

"You have accepted the mantle and responsibility of protector and spokesman for all the oppressed of Lebanon. We are here always to support you. We pledge to you our fidelity as the conscience and voice of freedom for all. "


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