Our Lady of Lebanon

Our parish is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the devotional title of Our Lady of Lebanon as an homage to the Lebanese immigrants who pioneered the formation of this parish and to the Virgin Mary who willed this parish to be formed through her petitions to her son. Lebanon has always had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and she has become honored there as Our Lady of Lebanon. Mary, as Our Lady of Lebanon, is the patron saint of Lebanon.


Our Lady of Mantara

Did you know that Jesus and Mary visited Lebanon during his public ministry? There is a sanctuary in the village of Maghdousheh in southern Lebanon dedicated to Our Lady of Mantara (Mantara means Waiting in Arabic), where Mary stayed in a grotto awaiting her son when Jesus went to preach and heal people in Tyre and Sidon. Since these were pagan cities, Jewish women were not permitted to enter lest they become ritually unclean, so Mary stayed behind with other female disciples of Jesus. The healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, recorded by St. Mark 7:24–30 and St. Matthew 15:21–28, took place in this southern region of Lebanon. St. Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, donated an icon of the Virgin to the sanctuary in 326 AD, and it remains there to this day in what is now the Shrine of Our Lady of Mantara (Our Lady of Waiting).  


Why do Christians venerate Mary?

Lebanese Christians (and all apostolic Christians throughout the centuries) have taken Mary as their Mother in accordance with the request of our Lord himself when he said on the cross to his beloved disciple, "Here is your mother" (John 19:25-27). Through her petitions, the Lord has showered uncountable blessings on those with Marian devotions and those who take Mary as their Queen Mother (1 Kings 2:13-20), and being the most righteous person to have ever lived (for her humility has been admired by generations of Christians) her intercession is most powerful (James 5:16). It is justly fitting for us to honor her, and indeed expected of us by God, who himself was obedient to his mother (Luke 2:51).


Our Lady of Lebanon

The famous Maronite Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon is located in Harissa, a mountain village about thirty minutes north of Beirut, the capital city. The larger than life-size statue of the Virgin that overlooks the mountain peak was crafted in Lyons, France. The Blessed Virgin Mary was named the Queen of Lebanon by the Maronite Patriarch on Sunday, May 3, 1908 during the Inaugural Liturgy upon completion of the shrine. To this day, the Anniversary of Our Lady of Lebanon is celebrated on the first Sunday of May in the Maronite Church. The Harissa Shrine was visited by Pope John Paul II on May 10, 1997 in his effort to support Eastern Catholicism. Located about 1900 feet above sea level, the view from the shrine is breathtaking. Overlooking the bay of Jounieh, the shrine has become a major tourist attraction and pilgrimage site drawing people from all over the world. Visitors can take a gondola lift, called the Téléphérique, from the seaside city of Jounieh to the mountain village of Harissa where the statue of Mary stands, outstretching her hands toward Beirut and watching over all the Lebanese people with her maternal gaze. We are blessed to have a replica of this statue outside our church building, and Mary likewise stretches her hands in invitation to all those who seek to worship her son in our church. Her heavenly presence reminds us that we are in the world but not of the world.


March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mariam, as she is called in Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic, is a national holiday in Lebanon, as the Virgin Mary, who is revered by Christians, Muslims, and Druze alike, provides unity among Lebanese of every faith.


National Shrine in the US

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon is located in North Jackson, Ohio, about an hour east of Cleveland. You can find their website at ourladyoflebanonshrine.com.


Prayer to Our Lady of Lebanon

O Mary, you who are called the Cedar of Lebanon, look down upon your children who today and always beg your guiding hand. Grant us the faith to withstand the sweeping blows of life as the cedar stands strong against the wind. Develop in us the hope of the resurrection. Dear Mother, increase our love: the love we should have for the Blessed Trinity, our filial love for you, and the love for our neighbor: not in theory, but in solid prayer and practice. We now kneel at your feet, dear Lady, begging for your blessing and beseeching your intercession to your Divine Son for all our church and government authorities, for ourselves, all our relatives and friends, and especially for (request).

 

Our Lady, Queen of Lebanon, America, and the Universe, pray for us. 


 


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