North Jackson Shrine being consecrated as Minor Basilica
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson will mark an important milestone on Saturday.
The Shrine, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be consecrated as a Minor Catholic Basilica.
Pope Francis bestowed the title of Minor Basilica on the Shrine earlier this year.
The Shrine becomes just the second Maronite Catholic Basilica in the world, the other being the original Shrine in Lebanon.
In his 1959 article, Minor Basilicas in the United States, Robert F. McNamara wrote that to become a Minor Basilica, a church must be a notable religious center, as well as meet other criteria.
The Shrine features a 55-ft.-high tower with an exterior spiral stairway of 64 steps leading to a 16-ft. statue of the Virgin Mary. It has served as the focal point of annual pilgrimages of the faithful every year since its founding.
The Shrine was dedicated on August 15, 1965. The three founding parishes are St. Maron, Youngstown; St. John the Baptist, New Castle, Pennsylvania; and Our Lady of the Cedars, Akron. All three parishes are still actively involved with the Shrine.
The specific ornamentation for the consecration were custom made in Italy, Texas, Boston and Cleveland.
The consecration will take place at 5:00 pm Saturday, during a Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Shrine by the Most Reverend A. Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.
Also attending will be Bishop Gregory Mansour, Eparchy of St. Maron, Brooklyn; and Bishop Robert Shaheen, Bishop Emeritus. Assisting Chorbishops, Monsignori, Priests, Deacons and Subdeacons will also be in attendance.