Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Linda Reeves - The Florida Catholic Palm Beach
Photographer: LINDA REEVES | FC
A National Apostolate of Maronites banner is part of displays at the Maronite Convention held in Miami June 26-30 at the Loews Hotel. The members of the apostolate assist the bishops, help bring Maronite laity in the United States together, and help strengthen the bonds between clergy and lay. The group sponsors the national convention each year. This year marks the convention's 56th year.
See related story: Maronite Catholics convene in Miami
- The Maronite
Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the worldwide
Catholic Church and recognizing Pope Francis as spiritual authority.
- The Maronite
Catholic Church is headquartered in Bkerke, Lebanon. It is one of the oldest
traditions of the Catholic Church, born out of the Church of Antioch founded by
St. Peter. Officially, it is known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch.
- According to
Maronite data, there are nearly 4 million Maronite Catholics worldwide. The
largest number of Maronites currently live in Lebanon, although Maronite
Catholics have spread throughout the world and figures indicate 200,000
Maronite Catholics live in the United States, a number that continues to grow.
- The Maronite Church takes its
name from the fourth century hermit St. Maron, whose way of life inspired monks
and laity to follow him, eventually resulting in the distinctive Maronite Rite.
Liturgies are celebrated in English and Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, the same
language Jesus spoke. People sit and stand throughout the celebration, never
kneeling. Incense is used throughout the celebration and singing is in Syriac.
- Throughout history, the Maronite
Church has served as a struggling Christian presence in the Middle East, which
is more known for its Jewish and Muslim influences. Over
the ages, Maronites have fled under threat, and immigrated to other countries
for economic and religious issues. During Muslim invasions of the seventh
century, many Maronites fled to Mount Lebanon.
- Lebanon Maronites fled in
particularly large numbers during the Lebanese civil war in the late 20th century,
when Syria and Israel competed for influence over the country. The war took
more than 250,000 lives and the country once said to be the most advanced in
the Middle East was left in ruins.
- In 1966, Pope Paul
VI appointed the first Maronite bishop for the United States. The first
Maronite diocese or eparchy was established in 1971. Currently, there are two
Maronite dioceses in the United States. One is based in Los Angeles and the
other in Brooklyn.