1920 Born from Boutros Shebaya and Hala Kayrouz on May 20
1932 Joined Saint Joseph University to pursue his Lord Jesus's call
1937 Joined the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome to graduate in Philosophy with distinction
1940 Moved back to Saint Joseph University to graduate in Theology with distinction
1944 Ordained Priest on March 25
1944 Served in Klayaa – South of Lebanon
1945 Moved to Besharreh and started teaching at the Official School for boys without remuneration
1947 Nominated Director the Official School of Besharreh for boys
1985 Retired from teaching
1990 Ordained Archbishop on the Diocese of Baalbek – Deir-el-Ahmar
1996 Left the Diocese for retirement
2002 Died on October 8
I thank you all for organizing this intimate meeting and your willingness to share with me some precious memories of a life I dedicated to serving the church and being part of the adventure of Deliverance.
The Lord said to Jeremiah, the prophet:” Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah freaked and said:” Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” But the Lord said:” Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee.”
According to the book of Saint Matthew: “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” (Matthew 4/18-20)
It is a call to serve God and Humanity; it is the story of each priest, monk, nun, prophet and disciple chosen since the beginning of time to consolidate the relation between God and men and to be an asylum on earth and a light for the world.
As a child growing up with my family, I heard the call of Jesus the Messiah. This call became clearer in the schools of the Carmelite priests in Besharreh and Tripoli and later in the Lasallian Brothers School in Tripoli.
In 1932, I attended the Ecclesiastical Oriental Institute of the Jesuits in Beirut and followed courses from the seventh grade till the baccalaureate. I passed the French and Lebanese baccalaureates with second class honors.
In 1937, I traveled to Rome, the capital of the Catholic Church where I took a three-year philosophy course in the Papal Gregorian University and received a BA with first class honors (9/10).
Yet, in 1940, when World War II started and Italy took part in it after Mussolini became allied to Hitler, Maronite ecclesiastics had to come back to Lebanon by land, passing by Yugoslavia and Turkey.
When we got to Istanbul, the apostolic delegate Roncalli who later became the Pope John 23rd hosted us for three days in the monastery of the Franciscan Priests and gave us the opportunity to visit the ruins of the city, guided by his assistant. Later, we continued the road through Syria and then Lebanon.
When we got to Lebanon, I went again to the Oriental Ecclesiastic Institute in Beirut and studied for four years to hold a degree in Theology with upper second class honors.
In March 25, 1944, in the church of the Jesuit Priests in Beirut, the late bishop AbdAllah El-Khoury nominated me priest.
After my nomination, my mother’s uncle, His Beatitude the Patriarch Antoine Arida offered me the administration of the Ecclesiastic School of Ain–Warka. Yet, I preferred to accept the invitation of his Grace Youhana Kawkabani who wanted me to help him in the service of the parish and therefore serve in the village of Klayaa Marjeyoun.
With Father Gabriel Feghali and his Grace Youhana Kawkabani, I lived a life of brotherhood similar to that of the first Christians of Jerusalem. With them, I shared the services of the parish and became responsible for the administration of the school of Klayaa. This experience showed me how much the priest can contribute in raising the cultural, spiritual and moral level in schools (although his presence does not have the same impact in the schools of Beirut).
During the Passion Week, I preached in the small village of Sarda where we used to celebrate the mass only on Sundays and during feast days. The habitants revealed to me that the last time they confessed and received communion was 20 years ago when the last priest left the village, despite the fact that other priests kept visiting them on Sundays and during feast days. This is how I became conscious of the importance of a priest’s presence in the parish so he can be closer to people and be aware of their wishes, problems and aspirations.
I only served nine months in the caza of Marjeyoun then I came back to my home town Besharreh to spend summer vacations with my parents. The inhabitants urged me to stay because during these times, Besharreh was in deep need of spiritual, cultural and social services.
I consulted his Beatitude the Patriarch Mar Antoun Boutros Arida and he gave me permission to stay in Besharreh and join its priests and people in procuring the social and spiritual services.
My mission began at the Complementary Official School for Boys. I wasn’t appointed or paid to do this job. My cousin Sheikh Asaad Kayrouz, son of my uncle His Grace Ignatius Kayrouz was the principal of the school.
With the acceptance of the principal, the teachers, the students and their parents, I began to administrate the school in 1945-1946. I restored the classrooms and the playgrounds and scheduled the courses: my day used to begin at 7 in the morning with a mass in the school’s church and end at 7:30 in the evening after the supervised studies. I only left the school two hours a day to have lunch with my parents.
Two years later, in 1947, the Directorate General of education the late George Haymari visited the school. He was astonished by all the efforts I made to raise the educational level so he offered me official administration of the school provided that my ecclesiastic title doesn’t appear on the decree of nomination and assignment because religious men were not welcome in schools at that time.
The school was baptized “Father Philip School”. A great number of administrators and intellectuals visited us and many Christian and Muslim teachers worked at the school. They all discovered that the priest was not a monster as they have imagined but a person who can bring love along with education.
The school was a good example of cooperation between the ministry of education and religious men, so a lot of priests have been encouraged to work in public schools, especially in the caza of Besharreh, and helped raising the educational and spiritual level. (As you know, the late Bishop Youssef El Khoury had nominated the late priest Merched Imad teacher at this complementary school of Deir-El-Ahmar).
The late Rasheed Arida, brother of his Beatitude the Patriarch Antoun Arida wanted to build a technical school, so he edified the building from his own money. When I took charge of the school in 1945, it had two floors with big rooms, and the students were using only five of them. The rest belonged to the National Committee of Gibran Khalil Gibran, the museum of Gibran and its guardian and the family of the school’s gatekeeper.
I convinced the president of the Gibran National Committee to move the museum, its guardian and the office of the committee to another building. I also convinced the gatekeeper and his family to use only three of the building’s rooms. I then changed the design of the room according to the needs of academic teaching. So the school now had 25 classrooms including one big room for student meetings.
The school had only one small playground where students were not able to play any sports game. I transformed the garden at the West of the building that the gatekeeper used to plant and the land at the North of the building that I bought from the neighbors into two playgrounds. I edified two other roofed playgrounds at the South and the West of the school.
The heating system
Two small stoves were the only heating system that the school benefited from. I decided to put a central heating system working on gas oil. The cost of all these modifications was paid from the Patriarchal fund that the late Rasheed Arida had consecrated to the school needs.
The school affairs
1. When I took charge of the school, there were only four teachers responsible for sixty students. I was the principal, the inspector, the sports trainer, the religion teacher, the social assistant, the nurse and the supervisor of the evening studies. I also watched over building works. I even worked during summer vacations. Day after day, the school became known in the caza of Besharreh as one of the most famous institutions of the ministry of education thanks to its French, music, sports and painting courses as well as for the spiritual and moral orientation given to the students.
I edified modern kindergarten classes and after a small period of time, the number of teachers reached 44 and that of the students reached 650. Many of our graduates who grew up in the modest families of Besharreh became well known as judges, doctors, architects, priests, poets, musicians and skiers.
Under the initiative and supervision of the school, many clubs as well as religious, cultural and sports associations had been founded. The most famous one was the “Scholastic Christian Youth” that contributed in revealing the cultural side of Besharreh by serving public interests for 40 years.
A- Taking Besharreh’s rights in the electrical plant of Kadisha despite the opposition of the administrative board of the corporation and some personalities in the village.
B- Determining the salaries of the employees as well as the working hours despite the opposition.
C- Raising the level of religion, education and moral standards.
D- Founding the Sporting Club of the Cedars whose members honored their country inside and outside Lebanon.
E- Organizing masquerades during the last week before the fasting.
F- Organizing religious tours during the Passion Week and Palm Sunday and distributing gifts to all the children of the village at Christmas Eve.
G- Reuniting the families of Besharreh and preserving good relations with neighboring villages of the caza.
2. The Virgin Mary Apostolic Movement supported by Carmelite priests and myself. Its main activities are:
A- Evangelical evenings along a four-year period to explain the Christian ideology. This activity starts the first Sunday after Christmas and ends on Easter. The evenings are organized once a week, each time in a different house so that all inhabitants beneficiate from it.
B- Apostolic Summer Camp in the Complementary Official School for Boys with the participation of around 200 girls and boys from Besharreh and neighboring villages or sometimes from far regions like Tripoli and Akkar. The camp lasts two weeks and is organized by the Virgin Mary Apostolic Movement in collaboration with the priests of Besharreh.
C- “Brotherhood of the Immaculate Conception” for men and women
“Pioneers and Scouts” for boys and girls
“Cavaliers and lilies” for children
“Axauvel” and cadet scouts for children
These activities were held in Besharreh. In other villages of the caza, and even in the farthest ones of the Kadisha Valley, I have organized civic education courses in collaboration with the schools and priests of the villages.
His Grace the late Boulos Al-Semaani, representative of the late Patriarch Antoun Arida in Rome, sent me 14 scholarships for the ecclesiastic students of Ghazir that I have distributed to the sons of the caza of Besharreh.
Orientation in churches
On Sundays, during feast days and even in funerals, the altar was the roast room of the truth, of words said without fear or praise but with love and faith: these words were related to the daily life of the last week and spoken to orientate the believers. They made some people angry but the majority accepted the critics with relief, even if they were directly concerned.
As you all know, as a response to your own demand, the patriarchal assembly held between the 4th and the 9th of June 1990 decided to create a new parish under the name of “Maronite Parish of Baalbeck and Deir-El-Ahmar”. It included the region of Deir-El-Ahmar, which was part of the parish of Besharreh, along with other Maronite villages in Baalbeck and El-Hermel, which were part of the parish of Baalbeck and later of the parish of Zahleh before I was nominated pastor of the parish.
His Holiness the Pope John Paul II approved my nomination.
On Sunday August the 15th 1990, I was nominated bishop in the Patriarchal Church of Al-Diman by his Beatitude the Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir with the participation of bishops George Abi-Saber and George Iskandar. On the request of his Beatitude the Patriarch, Bishop George Abi-Saber escorted me to your region and officially handed me over your new parish. This occurred a day before the Assumption, the commemorating festival of the reception of Virgin Mary in bodily form into heaven.
I baptized your parish “Parish of Love” so that Virgin Mary looks after uniting you.
I started working with you on the Assumption and promised to serve you with the help of the heads of the Holy Church. I asked you to collaborate with me in order to make our parish a true “Parish of Love”, a message of love and brotherhood between Christians and Muslims, a parish that refuses religious and tribal discrimination, a parish that orientates its members towards efficient collaboration in building a better future for us, our villages and our country.
To reach our goals and aspirations, I invite you to get your inspiration from the decision of the second Papal Assembly concerning the mission of Bishops:” The parish is part of the sons of God that the Bishop is responsible for. With the help of the parish’s committee, he unites this body to the Holy Spirit through the Bible and the Eucharist so that it becomes a unified Holy and Apostolic Church. Each Bishop is in charge of taking care of this special church and looking after its sons in the name of the Lord and under the power of his Holiness the Pope. His mission is to educate, sanctify and conduct. Nevertheless, he should fully acknowledge the legislative rights that Patriarchs and other heads of the Church have over him.
What Have the People to Say? Read Testimonies about Bishop Shebaya
Patriarch NasrAllah Sfeir
…He worked and taught, and great was he in the Kingdom of heaven…
Those born between the forties and the eighties of the past century owe him a lot from the education and knowledge they acquired…
He was dedicated to infusing his students with the spirit of religion and the principles of ethics before the sciences of life…
He used to help the poor in strict confidence…
Patriarch Beshara Rahi
…The young priest Philippe Shebaya was kind and ardent, with a radiant face and a permanent smile…
I always felt in my heart a flame of love and respect towards him that made me always thirsty for his words and his presence…
This attraction, those kind words and generous smile, his religious concern and his passion for evangelization, his criticizing, honest and bold jokes, his voice tone and his internal rebellion against neglect and indifference, his love for Besharreh and its youth…
And even at an advanced age, Bishop Philippe Shebaya was still the same, with his ecclesiastic ardency, his anchored liturgical knowledge, his total conscience of the past, and his great ambitions for the future…
Bishop Francis Baisari
V … “Father Philippe” used to practice this. He used to coat the nude, dress the barefoot, warm the cold, feed the hungry, encourage the scared, help the weak, without anything in return and in deep modesty. He was the philanthropic association and he was the fund…
He was therefore the breadwinner of the big family, the father of the orphan, the supporter of the widow, wiping sadness from faces, sowing happiness in houses and hope in hearts in strict confidentiality…”
Dear sons of Besharreh, you just installed a statue for “Father Philippe” the teacher, yet if you were to be fair, you would have installed in each corner of your village a statue for the teacher, another one for the priest, and others for the advocator of rights, the fighter of oppression, the helper of the poor, and for “Father Philippe” the scout and many others…
Bishop Paul-Mounjed El-Hachem
In my heart was engraved the image of the good shepherd, dedicated to serve the sons of his parish, the modest and purposeful, the enlightened and smiling face…
Everyone used to listen to him with passion and respect. He moved their emotions, calmed their pain, and reminded them of their duties according to their Christian faith…
His first concern was educating priests committed to serving their parish… He was the good shepherd who knows his sheep…
Fr. Georges Jourieh
V … We used to go together every Wednesday to check how cathechism is being taught in the private and public schools of the diocese… He insisted on schools principals to recruit men and women teachers in return of salaries he used to ensure… He always arrived to school before all teachers and students. He always made sure to ensure education and to replace the absent teacher… at the break he liked to gather teachers to discuss the gaps and spend quality time with them. Jokes were a common thing in those gatherings… We found in this relationship an image of the twelve disciples and their relation with their Master. You all knew him but not more than I did. The thing he loved the most was to be called by these two words: Father Philippe.
Dr. Samir Geagea
… With the death of Bishop Philippe Shebaya, a page of Besharreh’s modern history has been turned, a radiant page marked by his personal character…
He loved Besharreh immensely and sacrificed his youth for it. He witnessed its misery and deprivation, and understood the complications of its society more than anyone else…
He experienced the pain of people and tried to alleviate it…
He was never tired, never complaining, and his face was permanently smiling…
He never striven for a position and was never seduced by fortunes or high ranks…
You are the friend trusted in your work, believer in your call, and entrusted with the talents you doubled and tripled…
Generations will repeat your name and recall your good memory whenever a work you accomplished is mentioned…
Ex-Deputy Dr. Gebran Taouk
… Generations from Besharreh and the region recognize that if it wasn’t for you, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to access to high positions…
You promised education for the needy, you had the compassion of the Lord towards your younger brothers…
We knew as someone determined to defend the right, modest and pioneer in social and educational change and in spiritual renewal, sincere to the highest extent, refusing any maneuver at the expense of the truth…
Besharreh will not forget you and you will remain present in the hearts and consciences of its sons, the example of the good shepherd, the social reformer and the pioneer in innovative ideas…
Judge Pt. Torbey Rahmeh
The limit of his ambition was yet another objective, and the end of his horizon was infinity…
He never cared for money nor was he attracted by luxury…
He protected himself by the truth and was devoted to hard work…
He was free of vulgarities of existence, and purified his heart with sacrifice…
He healed the wounds of people, cared for their troubles, until he has been crushed by troubles and wounds…
Mayor Antoine El-Khoury
… When the name of Father Philippe is mentioned, suddenly and without any introductions, one starts uncovering his past, present and future… No matter how old you are, you find yourself a small boy again in his arms, in his school, in his church, in his clean and exquisite society… No matter how old you are, you still read in his book, knowing that all what is clean, exquisite and civilized in your personality was cultivated by his hands… this young and skinny priest was trying to move Beirut and Europe to Besharreh, this remote village of North Lebanon… Father Philippe, as an umbilical cord, starts nurturing your body and mind with warmth, food and clean air: cinema, theatre, different types of sports: tennis, running, wrestling, basket ball, volley ball, ping pong, Swedish sports, ski, music, songs, poetry competitions, dance, painting, handcrafting, Santa Claus, Carnaval, illiteracy eradication, photography, forestation, tree day, cleaning campaigns, school visits to all Lebanese regions, clubs, evangelical evenings, evening courses, French, English, Assyrian, and Italian languages, Palm Sunday, Processions in the streets, shows on national occasions, first communion… Can we let down the curtains on the death of the hero… or shall this memory become a challenge for all of us, for residents, displaced and immigrants, for determined and reluctant, to draw a beautiful future for our parents, children and country?...
Dr. Tarek Chidiac
… His name was on everyone’s lips, and all agreed that “Besharreh” was always on his lips… How can I write about a man who left a heritage of knowledge for the sons of my village throughout four decades… He planned and he started his journey. He embodied a great culture since his beginnings. Those who sink in the sea of philosophical theories shall remember that this man, who studied philosophy here and in Rome, did not sit in his ivory tower, for he worked with his own hands in his society that started radiating cultures… He wanted to create in his city a generation free of cheap conflicts. He blessed every club, every association, and steadily led every march… Most importantly was that Father Philip (who remained our father even after being named Bishop) dreamt of transforming Besharreh the divided families into Besharreh the united family…
Poet Dr. Wahib Kayrouz
V … He was always the leader of major educators and education philosophers… One day, he held a list of 50 questions written in French. We couldn’t understand the words or the meaning of the majority of the questions. He spent a week explaining it to us and clarifying all ambiguities. At the end, we only had to answer with “yes” or “no”. After a “psychological analysis” of our answers, he explained what the questionnaire was about. It was a survey for the assessment of psychological energies like humor, intelligence, preferences, desires, character, will, need, memory, and capacity to meditate… Father Philip didn’t reveal any of our psychological world’s specificity, yet after several weeks, we started feeling a change in the way he was dealing with each one of us...
Mr. Tony J. Shebaya
… Père Philippe has many children, way more that we can count than he touched in his life. In my opinion, Père Philippe is not ours alone, he is a statesman and have an extended family. I believe that a foundation in his name will keep his memory for long time and will allow us to continue his mission …
Poet Malek Taouk
…We gather today to pay tribute to a hero, who had hope in his village… and this hope is still present.
They said: “he retired”, I replied: “I don’t think so, in life Jesus never retired, and in geography, a mountain never retired”.
The angel of love cannot retire, and the flame never leaves the lamp.
How can the door of virtue be closed, who can jump over the impossible?
Father Shebaya was born in this world to be Bsharre’s agent before the Lord, for him to become a medicine for Bsharre’s pain. I saw how broke his heart was, feeling the pain of others.
Since the day he came here from Roumieh, he brought with him Jesus and Virgin Mary…
Mr. Joseph Shebaya
What shall I call you? My Father or Our father? You refused to be a father exclusively for your family, yet succeeded in being ours in our totality, and theirs in your fullness… You knew that the love account cannot be matched with the knowledge account… you knew that if love emanates from the Lord, it will grow more every time it is spread.
You taught us the meaning of fatherhood and son hood… You guided us to the heavenly father… you prepared us to be the sons of God and the brothers of Jesus Christ… you showed us the way:
You told us: “Don’t look for treasures that perish, search for the heavenly treasure”, and you were a live example of that…
Poet Antoine Malek Taouk
… What can one say in his absence? What can one say about him? Nothing… except that he left yet he will remain present in a way or another. This is how great people and saints depart...
Poet Anthony Geagea
… Yes we are late, and so is our recognition and the statue…
We wanted a memorial carrying on its shoulders the cliff and the cascade, and we wanted you to see it before your last journey to be sure that we haven’t forgotten you…
We engraved on a stone the statue that we mixed from sand and sweat and piled it here…
That of a shepherd knocking on schools’ doors, ringing churches' bells, pounding on the temples of prostitution and obscenity and shaking prison bars and grave stones…
Musician Hawache Fakhry
He invited the disinterested to church to take part in lectures, discourses and readings…
He was open to different opinions…
He was a bridge of trust between Besharreh residents and Besharreh immigrants…
He was the first defender of people’s rights in front of official and religious authorities…
He was the first claimer for a musical institute…
All conflicts and hostilities between individuals and groups were solved through his intervention and perseverance…
He never forgot Besharreh’s need for joy and entertainment…
He was the rebellious priest, the devoted believer the sincere and the courageous…
Mr. Joe Fakhry
… The playgrounds and sports' courts he opened for us in the afternoons were the one and only space in the village where we could play with the ball, scream and fight… That court?! It was small and he expanded it what made our reckless balls reach his window. It was a sandy court with saggy edges where clouds of dust spread out behind our ball that easily reached the surroundings, so he covered the land with asphalt and surrounded it by trees and said: Here you go, a new ball in the new court… How could we know he was the man of dreams?! Not the dreams that rise above reality and come close to the impossible, but the dreams that rise from reality and dare to invade obstacles. How could we read back then his dream of a court that became today one of the best courts in Lebanon?!... We recall his kindness towards the weak and needy without humiliation, and his boldness against tyranny…
Mr. Antoine Barakat
… When you learnt about my financial needs to continue my education, you handed me off to “Beit Al Chabiba Al Bcherawiya” and you bought me a ping pong table and some soda boxes to teach me how to face life and provide my needs with sweat and toil, and then you handed me off to Gibran Museum with a salary that fulfilled my needs... With a tear carrying my spirit, that I shed on your pure hands, confessing that all the love, pride, dignity and nobleness I have were made by you, so thank you… you fed us ethics, sacrifices, dignity and nobleness… you carried our human pain and weakness and transformed it into amity, solidarity and love…
Mr. Ferz Taouk
… When I left Besharreh and enrolled in the boarding school, I started discovering the truth about Father Philippe and his intentions behind his severity and his constant surveillance because I felt a huge difference between his attitude as a father for his students and the commercial attitude adopted by that school… In Beirut, I met Father Philippe through the people who knew him and had an unlimited respect and praise towards him… As for Doctor Charles Malek, when I asked him to sponsor the play, and when he knew I deeply respect Father Philip he welcomed me saying: “I am honored to sponsor the play of Jesus the Lord, and I am honored to have a director from Besharreh, who was brought up by Father Philippe, followed his instructions and followed his footsteps because Father Shebaya is a rare phenomenon amongst priests since he brings religion together with ethics and knowledge”… Praised be your holiness for you shall remain alive in our hearts for people like you do not die…
Lawyer Chafic Khadra
… He spent his life trying to find the truth, repressing his emotions and combating his desires, scarifying his personal interest and friendships, confronting injustice caused by powerful people who did not succeed in exploiting him to serve their interests and desires. His purpose was to serve people, especially the poor, for his conscience to be clear and for His Creator to be pleased… and you Father Philip’s disciples, I am honored to speak before you, judges, lawyers, physicians, engineers, poets and authors… to bear testament to the greatness of this man …
Mr. Anwar Fakhry
… He went down to the working field with his teachers, students, and supporters. He was forming works cells and associations for commitments to be translated into actions… in different cultural, sports, and social domains. He started digging to find the wealth of a surmounted Bsharre, a wealth that he wanted to discover and release… he left illuminating marks in guidance, behavior and production, in agriculture, artisanship, tourism and aestivation…
Mr. John Romanous
…In a nutshell Bouna Philippe worked persistently to eradicate ignorance and encourage knowledge and spiritual and social growth among his fellow compatriots. In all his endeavors Bouna Philippe did his work with in-discriminant and unconditional love.
In his tireless and self-sacrificing care for his fellow compatriots he lived his life with a deep commitment to the principals of Gospel and to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In turn we here in Australia can use the life of Bouna Philippe as a role model for our pursuit in working towards the social, educational and particularly the spiritual growth of our fellow Bshrranieh through the vehicle of the BPSF-Aust...
The late Bishop Philippe Shebaya continues to inspire me with his compassion and the encouragement he extended to people to bring out the best in each of them through education and spirituality.
Mr. Eddy F. Succar
… A man of principle, that through his life he acted his preaching and became an example that spanned many religious groups. When they needed to refer to honesty, righteousness, generosity, compassion or any other pillar that upholds Christianity, all they had to say: "Like Père Philippe". He brought extra pride to a very proud family name. I am much honored to be his nephew.
Mrs. Jamileh Fakhry
… His memory should forever live in our hearts and the hearts of all good people. His good deeds will forever remain alive in the good soil of Becharreh.
No words can describe what good will and inspiration He brought among many generations and any statement will fall short to show enough appreciation... therefore we'll leave it in the hands of God to reward a well deserving shepherd.
Mr. Maroun El-Khoury
… I had the opportunity to see Fr. Philippe nearly daily since 1976 till 1983 … Every day at 7 a.m. I celebrated the mass with him at school …
He is a Saint !!! … Besharreh kept to be present in his heart even at the time when he became unconscious...
Mr. Gus Zalami
… He has always been a revered and an inspirational figure. He will no doubt be missed by his family, his beloved village Besharreh and the Maronite community as a whole …
Fr. Georges Eid
… He insisted on providing us with a warm shelter in a decent equipped room within the school building so we don’t remain lost in the streets, scattered in the alleys or sneaking around walls and doors… He was the defender of the weak amongst us. He teared-up many times seeing us coming under the snow and the wind from our far villages, yet seeing us as successful and energetic students used to comfort him… He suffered a lot from the fact that financial means were a barrier preventing people from access to science and knowledge, and this is why he worked on ensuring books and other school needs from his own money, for every needy student incapable of ensuring his education needs… We, priests of the patriarchal diocese of El-Jebbeh, who arrived to the Lord’s altars thanks to him, will never stop recalling him from these altars…
Musician Dr. Joseph Fakhry
Mr. Elias Chayna
… Indeed, Fr. Philippe is a Saint; this is very well noted in his humanitarian actions, his love to everybody, his sacrifices and devotion in tutoring and guidance of students. I was not his student but I learned from him, so I loved him. My aspiration that he will be known by this generation, he is in Heaven and he is a Saint since his birth. Sanctity in him was intuitive.
Mr. Dib Msallem
… The prince of love departs, yet his love shall remain in our hearts… where his love fluttered, he was the founder of the Maronite parish of Baalbeck – Deir El Ahmar that he called “parish of love”… and that he loved deeply till he became spiritually united to its sons and families, eager to what they were longing for and dreaming of incarnating their spiritual hopes among which he sowed the scent of Qannubine valley’s incense
Dr. Youssef Taouk
… He is the fruit tree that never loses it leaves or its fruits around the seasons … without asking to be thanked or wanting to be seen… His life did not became complete without benevolence, and its fruits were culture, arts, sports, environment, love, ethics, and evangelical virtues… All the human benevolence commitment we still have was sowed by him… Father Philipp is the renaissance era in our memory and our reality… honoring him and reviving his memory requires building on the foundations he put for education, religion and development, so that he won’t become a mere memory we celebrate yearly.
Mr. Antoine Fayad
… This continuous benevolence developed the meaning of the crucifixion in many spirits and minds… by choosing the “other” he understood life from within, from the heart of its interaction… Father Shebaya, until this moment, is crucified amongst us and in front of us. The persons in charge of the Red Cross branch know his words and the taste of the water drop. To the next generation were conveyed reminiscences of the water and blood, so it was ready to serve the other. Can we commit to benevolence in the era of pursuit of money and power? In a drop of blood, Father Shebaya will remain a living memory in the heart of all the employees of the Red Cross branch in Bsharreh.
Mr. Shehadeh Taouk
When injustice was crushing the life of our parents, when ignorance was eating away their minds, and hunger was fatal, Priest Shebaya stood up to witness the right, and raised his voice to defend people’s rights. We knew him as a devoted person, a good guardian of the parish… he wiped the tears of orphans and widows… he eased the pain of the sick… he offered food, water and clothes… he faced difficulties and risks to defend the right… never laying down his arms nor putting down his cane. He believed in the Lord… he held on to the Bible and chose the will of Jesus, so he became passionate in his prayers, trusted in his work…