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Maronites celebrate Bishop Shaheen’s ‘extraordinary life’

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Updated Aug. 17

Maronites ordain married priest

Father Wissam Akiki, a married man, was ordained a priest for the Maronite Catholic Church for the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon.

Pope Francis has granted permission for a married deacon to be ordained to the priesthood for the Maronite Catholic Church for the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon.

Father Wissam Akiki was ordained Feb. 27 at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis. He is married to Manal Kassab and they have a daughter, Perla. He is the first married man to be ordained for the priesthood for the U.S. Maronite Catholic Church.

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New Maronite bishop seeks to encourage the faithful in new role

Bishop Robert Shaheen, left, visited with Bishop-designate Abdallah Zaidan July 12 at the Maronite Pastoral Center at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in the LaSalle Park neighborhood just south of Downtown St. Louis.

Those attending the annual convention of the National Apostolate of Maronites in Tampa, Fla., last week had no idea that a newly named bishop was in their midst.

Father Abdallah Zaidan was in his hotel room July 5 preparing for Mass when he received a call from the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C., that he was being named the next eparch, or bishop, of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon. The eparchy, which relocated its headquarters from Los Angeles to St. Louis about 12 years ago, serves approximately 34,000 Maronite Catholics in 34 states.

Pope accepts age-related resignation of Maronite Bishop Robert Shaheen

Bishop Robert Shaheen was shown in 2012 at the Maronite Heritage Institute, located on the grounds of St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in the LaSalle Park neighborhood on the near Southside of Downtown St. Louis.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, 76, head of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon since 2001. Canon law requires bishops to submit their resignations at age 75. (Canon 401.1)

The Holy Father named Father Abdallah Zaidan, 50, rector of Our Lady of Mount Lebanon-St. Peter Maronite Cathedral in Los Angeles, to succeed him. The changes were announced in Washington July 10 by Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature.

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