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Cathedral celebrates 50 years of a Maronite Bishop’s U.S. presence

October 26, 2016 By Salma T. Vahdat Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
(Left to right): Mar Thomas Eusebius, Mar Barnaba Yousif Habash, Bishop A. Elias Zeidan, Bishop Gregory Mansour, Timothy Cardinal Dolan (front), Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Archbishop and UN Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre, and Chorbishop Michael Thomas. Photo credit: Januscz Zarychta
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Months of anticipation and preparation came to fruition recently with the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the presence of a Maronite bishop in the USA.

Prelates, clergy, deacons, subdeacons, parishioners and civic leaders from across the U.S. filled the Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in thanksgiving.

Concelebrating the Divine Liturgy, and in attendance with Bishop Gregory Mansour, were Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the USA-Personal Representative of His Holiness Pope Francis; Mar Thomas Eusebius, Syro-Malankar Bishop of the USA; Mar Barnaba Yousif Habash, Syriac Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, USA; Bishop Abdallah Elias Zaidan, Bishop the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles; Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York; Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens; Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations; Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn and Queens; Chorbishop Michael Thomas, Vicar General of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn and Monsignor James Root, Cathedral Rector.

Sayedna Gregory, third bishop of the Eparchy, said, “…Fifty years ago a young bishop was assigned by Pope Paul VI as the first Maronite bishop for the United States. He came not knowing what to expect and was pleased to find an organized laity (National Apostolate of Maronites) already working well with their clergy, a Maronite Seminary, the first outside Lebanon, a Shrine to Our Lady, and clergy and laity hoping for greater unity and progress … Archbishop Francis M. Zayek was able to gain the hearts and minds of God’s people, and as they say, the rest is history!”

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Archbishop Zayek recognized the immensity of the task before him. He entrusted the Maronite people’s future to the will of God and today we look back with amazement at what has been accomplished. Where there were none, there are now two Eparchies. Also 86 parishes, two monasteries, two congregations of nuns, deacons, subdeacons and several missions.

The Maronite Church in America has retained and nourished the heritage and culture brought to this land by our forebears since the late 1800s. During the last 50 years the church has grown with new parishes and missions, vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The Maronite Church is open to all in generosity and brotherhood.

— Salma T. Vahdat is a parishioner of Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral


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