In the true spirit of Christmas giving, the community of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and clergy from neighboring parishes gathered together on Saturday, December 22, 2012 with His Grace Bishop Thomas for Vespers followed by a Nativity dinner benefitting the Al-Kafaat Foundation  in Lebanon. The cathedral’s parishioners and organizations collaborated and worked together to present a beautiful evening of good food and good fellowship. Full of good cheer, the church hall twinkled with Christmas lights and decorations. The Byzantine choir of the cathedral chanted liturgical hymns of the Nativity and the church school children’s choir sang Christmas carols. His Grace Bishop Thomas spoke of the importance of Al-Kafaat, service, and the blessing it is for each person to have the opportunity to support the Al-Kafaat project. Fr. Demetrios Makoul spoke briefly on the importance of supporting such causes and how they allow us to be a presence of light in the world. The proceeds of the evening were multiplied as parishioner-owned restaurants, as well as philanthropically-minded individuals, completely underwrote the cost of all the expenses for the event.
The Al-Kafaat Foundation (al-kafaat meaning “abilities” in Arabic) delivers rehabilitation services and special education to children and adults with special needs. The Foundation is a Lebanese development and non-governmental organization governed by a board of trustees and acknowledged by law as an “Institution of Public Welfare.” Founded in 1957, the Foundation delivers its services today to a daily population of 4,500 beneficiaries in seven different centers, with a working team of 830 employees. Al-Kafaat is a founding member of the World Commission on Vocational Rehabilitation, a member of the International Cerebral Palsy Society, a member of Inclusion International, a recipient of the Rehabilitation International Presidential Award, and a three-time recipient of the Lebanese Order of Cedars (Knight in 1972, Officer in 1997, and Commander in 2007). To learn more about the good works of the Al-Kafaat Foundation, please visit www.al-kafaat.org .
Let us practice the true spirit of Christmas giving all-year long, doing faith-inspired good works while calling to mind the words of our Lord made incarnate, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)