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His name was Serge Maroun

13 february 2017

Tribute by Hubert Saillet to the chaplain of his Faith and Light community, who passed away suddenly.

In his childhood in Lebanon during the war, Serge Maroun had encountered Jesus in the heart of the weakest ones in his Faith and Light community. Arriving in France at the age of 20 to be a l'Arche assistant, he was able to explore this intuition more deeply, this fundamental truth which appears in the l'Arche prayer, and which touches the hearts of those who know how to discover it amongst our fragile brothers and sisters, people such as Jean Vanier, Saint Theresa of Calcutta, Sister Emmanuelle and Christian and Marie-France des Pallieres: the humble presence of Jesus living in the company of the little ones and the poor ones of this world, whatever the distress, the destitution or the disability.

It was then that he knew that he wanted to be a priest. And he became a priest. A priest built on the rock, on the cornerstone which the builders rejected. A priest who said: "I was born to live amongst the poor." A priest shaped by mercy, who was joyful, simple, a joker, open, connected and generous. His generosity sometimes played tricks on him, like the time when he had invited a homeless lady to sleep in the presbytery one very cold evening. The next day, as she stood smoking in front of the open door of the presbytery, her response to the surprised parishioners was: "I slept there, with Father Serge."

He was our priest, the priest of our Faith and Light Community. When he arrived, stars gleamed in the eyes of the young people in the Community. Seated on the rug with Pierre, Elodie and Marie Océane, whom he called "my princess", and all the others who had come to be with them, he knew how to speak simply to each of them, heart to heart.  
Needless to say, you should not hide your light under a bushel. He took on more and more responsibilities in the diocese, and became less and less available.
However, his closeness to the young people of Faith and Light was not merely one activity among others. He came to seek renewal and to draw strength, joy and love, which he immediately spread all around him, in l'Arche, for people with a disability, for their parents and friends, for migrants, poor people, for young people from the chaplaincy or scouts and, of course, for the parishioners.
Father Serge was struck down by a cardiac arrest on 19 January at the age of 48. He has left behind a huge hole…. and a path to follow. This man, who was also the priest accompanying seminarists in the diocese, will, I hope, now work to ensure that seminarists have to spend a period in the company of the poor and the little ones of this world as part of their formation. This is so that future priests may benefit from the same founding experience as the one which guided his life and transformed our own.


Hubert Saillet. ombresetlumiere.fr (Shadows and Light)- 6 February 2017
Hubert Saillet is father to five children, including Marie-Océane, who has multiple disabilities. He and his wife are responsible for a Faith and Light community in Compiègne (Oise).

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