Monsignor Labib Kobti

 

 
 

Biography

 
Born in Beirut, Lebanon on August 31, 1950 (Son of Fawzi Francis Kobti and Verginie Elias El-Sharif). Studied at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary of Jerusalem from 1963-1975. Worked as a teacher at Terra Santa College 1973-1974 (Franciscan Fathers of the Custody of the Holy Land) in Bethlehem and director of the Youth Groups at Frčres School in Bethlehem 1972-1974.

Ordained priest on July 6th 1975 at the Capuchin Cathedral of Beirut, Lebanon. Worked as Assistant pastor at Beit-Jala Parish from 1975-1977. Assistant parish priest at the Parish of Hashimy / Jordan 1977-1978. Teacher at the Seminary of Beit-Jala and Co-director for the Priestly and religious vocation office for the diocese (Jordan, Palestine and Israel) from 1979-1992. He taught Latin, French, Music, Geography, History, and Church History at the Seminary. He was at the same time spiritual director for minor and major Seminarians and a teacher of religion at the parish Schools in Beit-Jala and Bethlehem.

In 1982 he was sent to Rome to study Canon Law. Earned his Ph.D. in Canon Law in 1985 from the Lateran University.

Was sent then to serve as secretary to the Apostolic Vicariate of Lebanon 1985-1986. Worked as judge and defender of bond at the Latin, Syrian, and Chaldean Ecclesiastical Tribunals in Beirut, Lebanon.

Was sent back to Rome in 1987 to continue his studies in theology and was awarded his MA in Theology (Ecclesiology). He worked as assistant pastor at Jesus the Worker parish in Rome. Was recruited by the Vatican to study at the Pontifical Academy that prepares the Vatican Diplomats in 1989-1990. Because of health problems at that time, he had to leave his studies. Was sent to serve as Parish priest in Marj Al Hamam, Jordan 1990-1992.

Served as Judge and Defender of Bond at the Latin Tribunal of Amman, Jordan, and general director the Latin Patriarchal Vicariate of Jordan for the youth groups, scouts, Legion of Mary, family groups; at the same time he served as spiritual director of the Association of Feminine Religious Congregations of Jordan (about 13 different feminine congregations and sisters), teacher and spiritual director at the Rosary Sisters and the Franciscan Sisters schools in Amman, Jordan.

Was sent in 1992 by Patriarch Michel Sabbah to serve the Arab-American Catholic Community in California. He established two missions, St. Joseph in Pomona and St. Anne of the Sunset in San Francisco, commuting every week between the two missions for six years, serving at the same time the Arab-American Catholics in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.

He created a magazine Al Bushra (5 thousand copies) in English and Arabic. The magazine addressed topics pertaining to Christian Arab Heritage, the challenges of the Christians of the Middle East, and the rights of the Arab People. He worked as a second judge and defender of the bond at the Maronite Tribunal in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 1994 he created the widely acclaimed Al-Bushra website to promote justice, peace, and truth on issues of Middle East Human Rights. A much sought after speaker and human rights advocate, he has many organizations and universities on the issues of the Holy Land.

In October 1997 he was chosen by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, (ADC) Los Angeles and Orange County as the man of the year and received the "Alex Odeh Humanitarian Award".

In November 1998 he was assigned to serve only San Francisco as the Latin Patriarchate sent another priest to serve Los Angeles and Southern California.

Was assigned by Archbishop William Levada as Pastor of St. John of God (1290 Fifth Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122), effective July 1999, in addition to his work as Pastor of the Arab-American Roman Catholic Community in Northern California. His direct superior as a diocesan priest is the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. He speaks Arabic, French, English, Italian, Spanish. Granted bi-ritual faculties, he celebrates the Latin Rite and Maronite rite (the Maronite rite uses the Siro-Aramaic language of Jesus at their liturgy). Served at SJOG through June 30, 2002.

In 1999 he was invited to join the Knights of Holy Sepuchre, he was invested by Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles in October 1999 in Phoenix, Arizona.

He was assigned, effective July 1, 2002, as pastor of St. Thomas More (1300 Junipero Serra Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94132). St. Thomas More Church became the new home of the Arab-American Catholic Community in Northern California.

Appointments and Accomplishments include

  • Cofounder of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation in 1999 in Washington D. C.
  • Founded in San Francisco, April 1999, the Catholic Business Network (CBN-SF), an organization that wants to apply the principles of the Catholic Faith in the marketplace
  • Founded in San Francisco a Committee for Justice and Peace at St. John of God in 1999
  • Invitations to speak from the ADC, the International Catholic Forum, the Open Tent Middle Eastern Coalition, and numerous universities, churches, NGOs, and human rights groups.
  • Working for justice and peace for Guatemala and San Salvador with the Sanctuary Committee
  • Working for the lifting of the sanctions against Iraq
  • Chaplain of Pax Christi since 2005
  • Chaplain of Communion and Liberation since 2007
  • Chaplain of the Thomas More Society of Catholic Lawyers since 2008

He created an exhibit on the Holy Land at St. Thomas More Church, where people may visit Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon in person or virtually here [click] on the internet.

Al-Bushra was the first in the world to broadcast LIVE on the internet in 1998 the midnight Mass from Bethlehem as well as Holy Thursday and Easter Masses from Jerusalem and also the Feast of the Annunciation Mass from Nazareth.

In 2010 Msgr. Labib covered the outside walls of St. Thomas More Church with murals depicting the rich cultural heritage of parishioners. Click here for the write-up in Catholic San Francisco.

Awards

  • 1992 Youth Group Chaplain Award from the Latin Vicariate of Jordan
  • 1997 American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, (ADC)Los Angeles and Orange County as the man of the year and received the "Alex Odeh Humanitarian Award".
  • 1997 Arab American Roman Catholic Community of San Francisco Award
  • 1998 Arab American Roman Catholic Community of Los Angeles Award
  • Al-Bushra participated inJune 1999 at the International Festival for Websites in Milan, Italy
  • 1999 Daily Catholics best Al-Bushra SITE OF THE DAY Date: 2/8/99
  • 1999 Justice and Peace CIN List (Catholic Information Center) Recognition Al-Bushra website
  • April, 15, 2000 The Arab Cultural Center Millennium Award
  • October 1, 2000 Jordanian American Association Award
  • October 1, 2000 Arab Amercian Community Award, San Francisco
  • October 20, 2000 Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Award
  • Albawada.com: five trees for Al-Bushra (at: Albawaba)\Novemebr  17, 2000, Arab American Community Award, Los Angeles
  • December 25th 2000. Bethlehem.org, the web of the week (www.kath.net - katholische Online-Zeitung aus Österreich)
  • May 26, 2001. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee / SF Chapter (ADC) Award
  • October 9, 2009 American Heritage and Community Center Award for accomplishments in the Bay Area
 
 

 
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  Last update: April 19, 2011