Virgin Mary Society
|Secretary / Publicity||Marlene Marcelonis|
|Liaison to Antiochian Women||Chris Bezreh|
A Brief History of The Virgin Mary Society
Seven years after the Society of St. John of Damascus was established in 1907, a small group of women zealous in their desire to help this Society perpetuate the faith of their forefathers and to build a church, asked their permission to form a Women's Auxiliary. With the help of Fr. Solomon Fairneny, the President and four members of the Society, namely Asaad Mudarri, Salim Ayoub, Elias Homsy, Elias McCaba and Nicholas Najjar; an organization consisting of 13 elected members was formed and registered at the Archdiocese in Brooklyn, NY on August 16, 1914 under the name of "The Virgin Mary Society of the Church of St. John of Damascus". Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny granted his approval, congratulated and encouraged them on the establishment of this new organization.
At its first meeting, each member donated $2.00 to establish a fund in the treasury. At their second meeting, with the help of Fr. Fairneny and the five members of the Society of St. John, the following rules and regulations were instituted:
- Weekly dues of five cents be paid by all ladies of the parish;
- Visits be made to the sick, new mothers, newlyweds and their parents;
- A report be submitted at every parish meeting;
- Sept. 8, their patron saint's day be celebrated as the anniversary day or as near to that date as possible.
In 1926, Michael Cahaly translated the constitution and by-laws from Arabic to English and assisted them greatly in all correspondence and records at that time.
By this time, the parish grew considerably and with it came greater responsibilities so that in 1951, the number of elected members increased from 13 to 21. This continued until 1962 when the Executive Board of St. John of Damascus decreed The Virgin Mary Society be enlarged to embrace any female member in the parish over 21 years of age who desired to join, thereby inviting a greater participation in the affairs of the society and eliminating the process of voting and election by the ladies of the parish.