Maronite Chapel in honor of Our Lady of Lebanon forthcoming at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
The Maronite Chapel will be a unique, Middle Eastern Catholic presence at the Shrine. 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 Chapel is being designed by Master Artist Louis R. DiCocco III, the President of St. Jude Liturgical Arts Studio of Havertown, PA. Mr. DiCocco is well known for his work on the Chapel of Our Lady of La Vang at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, along with multiple projects at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Working closely with Mr. DiCocco on the Chapel design are Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, and Chorbishop Michael G. Thomas, the Eparchy’s Vicar General and Chancellor, who have spent countless hours reviewing every aspect of the Chapel’s design.
The Chapel’s interior design is a deliberate attempt to place the worshipper in the stone churches of Lebanon. The altar is designed with a Syriac Cross as found in many ancient churches of Syria and Lebanon. A Cedar of Lebanon adorns the tile floor. The Crucifixion scene behind the altar, as well as the four evangelists on the left side of the altar and the Virgin and Child on the right, were taken from the 6th century Rabboula illustrated Book of Gospels. Saint Maron will greet the worshipper on one side of the entrance and Our Lady of Lebanon on the other.
The dedication for the new Chapel is tentatively scheduled for September 23, 2011, to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. and the 50th anniversary of priesthood of Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, Seminary Rector.