Bishop Mansour: Maronite chapel is ‘special gift’ to universal Church
By Michelle Bauman
Washington D.C., Oct 1, 2011 / 06:04 pm (CNA).- Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y. recently described a new chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon as a gift “for the Universal Church.”
“The Church encompasses every culture of the world,” Bishop Mansour told CNA on Sept. 30. “The Maronite Church has a certain affinity for the culture of the Middle East, the culture of Jesus himself.”
The newly-consecrated Maronite Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon is located at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
“It’s a little chapel in the midst of many beautiful chapels in the shrine,” said Bishop Mansour. “But it’s a special gift.”
The bishop expressed gratitude for the support of everyone who helped in the construction and consecration of the chapel.
The dedication of the chapel took place on Sept. 23, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. and the 50th anniversary of priesthood for the seminary’s rector, Chorbishop Seely Beggiani.
Almost 300 people were present for the dedication.
Bishop Mansour consecrated the chapel, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C. spoke to those who had gathered for the ceremony.
The new chapel was designed by Louis R. DiCocco III, the president of St. Jude Liturgical Arts Studio of Havertown, Pa.
The stone interior of the chapel reflects the design of Lebanon’s intimate stone churches.
A Syriac cross adorns the altar, as is common in ancient Syrian and Lebanese churches. Behind the altar is a crucifixion scene, as well as icons of the four evangelists and the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus.
The chapel also contains images of St. Maron and Our Lady of Lebanon. The floor features a Cedar of Lebanon design.
Construction of the chapel was part of a three-year project undertaken by the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn. The eparchy also sought to renovate its Brooklyn cathedral, strengthen the missions and provide financial support for seminarians and retired priests.
The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn is composed of 40 parishes and missions in 16 states along the East Coast. The eparchy also contains a seminary in Washington, D.C., a convent for religious sisters and a monastery for contemplative monks.