- Headline News
Construction has begun on a new Maronite Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, who has spearheaded the project, announced that the Chapel will be named in honor of Our Lady of Lebanon.
“The Maronite Chapel will be a unique, Middle Eastern Catholic presence at the Shrine,” the Maronite Eparchy wrote in a press release. “It will also place the Maronite Church in America in the context of the Universal Church for all Shrine visitors, and appropriately recognize the rich tradition and legacy of the Maronite Church and her devotion to Our Lady.”
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the preeminent Marian shrine in the United States, attracting nearly a million visitors a year.
The interior of the chapel will reflect the aesthetic of the intimate stone churches of Lebanon. A Syriac Cross will adorn the altar, as it does in many ancient churches in Syria and Lebanon, and a Cedar of Lebanon will sprawl out across the tile floor.
St. Maron and Our Lady of Lebanon flank the entrance to the Chapel. Behind the altar worshippers will see the four evangelists, the Crucifixion scene, and the Virgin and Child, taken from a 6th-century illustrated Book of the Gospels, the Rabboula.
The dedication for the new chapel is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 23, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. and the 50th priestly ordination anniversary of Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, the seminary’s rector.