Bishop Gregory Mansour from the Eastern Eparchy (Diocese) of St. Maron, Brooklyn, N.Y., has designated St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church in Orlando as one of six pilgrimage sites in recognition of the Year of St. Maron. The year was proclaimed by Patriarch (Cardinal) Nasrallah Peter Sfeir in recognition of the 1,600th year of jubilee of the death of St. Maron, the patron saint of the Maronite Catholic Church. The pilgrimage sites are:
Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY
Our Lady of Lebanon Seminary Chapel, Washington, DC
St. Anthony Church, Lawrence, MA
St. Anthony Church, Glen Allen, VA
St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church, Orlando, FL
St. Louis Gonzaga Church, Utica, NY
Anyone making one of these pilgrimages, from June 29, 2010, to March 2, 2011, will receive an indulgence.
Reflecting on his visit to Cyprus in June of this year, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Before leaving Cyprus, I was happy to visit the Maronite cathedral of Cyprus, where Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, was also present.” The Maronites came to Cyprus in various periods, he said, "and often suffered difficult trials in order to remain faithful to their specific Christian tradition, the history and art of which represent a cultural heritage for all humankind".
Orlando Pilgrimage Site
The opening pilgrimage Mass celebration for St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church in Orlando, FL will be held on Sunday, August 29 at 4:00 p.m. All are invited to attend. Father Bassam M. Saade is the pastor of St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church, 5555 Dr. Philips Blvd, Orlando. For more information on the pilgrimage and the other sites, please contact the parish office at 407-363-7405.
There are approximately 100 Maronite Catholic Churches in the United States. The Maronite Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern Rite Catholic churches in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Maronite Church is a universal community of faith of the Antiochene-Edessan-Monastic tradition, founded by Peter and developed by St. Maron and his disciplines. The Maronite Catholic Church had its beginning in the city of Antioch, Turkey, which was the first See of St. Peter, where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). From Antioch, St. Peter went to Alexandria and then to Rome, where he was martyred and then buried. The name “Maronite” is derived from St. Maron, a holy priest and monk who lived in the vicinity of Antioch and who died in the year 410 A.D. St. Maron converted a pagan temple, ministered to the people of God along the Orontes River—south of Antioch in Syria, and performed many healings of body and spirit. After his death, a monastery was built with 800 monks living within its walls. As the Arabization of the Middle East took place in the early 7th century A.D., most of the peoples of the region were converted to Islam. The Maronites took refuge in Mount Lebanon to preserve their identity and faith. The Maronites cherised their church and spoke the Syriac Aramaic language, a dialect of Aramaic which was spoken by Jesus, His Mother, and His Apostles. Syriac Aramaic is still used in parts of the Maronite Liturgy.
In 1966, Pope Paul VI appointed the first Maronite Bishop for the faithful of the United States. Now, there are two Maronite Dioceses, called Eparchies, in the United States—The Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, Eastern U.S.A. and the Eparchy Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Western U.S.A.