Maronite Catholics in America have a new bishop (Video)

Pope Francis has today appointed a new bishop for one of the two Maronite Catholic Eparchies in the United States. Maronite Catholics, who are Eastern Rite Catholics in union with the Holy See, can trace their ancestry in the faith to the very first believers in Antioch, who were the first to be called Christians. The Maronite Catholic Church still uses the Syriac language in its liturgy. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, which is the same language spoken by Our Lord.
Father Abdallah Elias Zaidan has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, which is based in St. Louis. Father Zaidan will succeed Bishop Robert J. Shaheen after the Holy Father has accepted his retirement. Bishop Shaheen is now 76, one year beyond the normal retirement age for bishops.
The Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of St. Louis serves Maronite Catholics in much of the Midwest, including Texas and Oklahoma, and as far west as California. Since Maronite Catholics are a relatively small rite in the United States, Bishop-elect Zaidan will lead a diocese of 24,108 parishioners, 39 priests, and 8 deacons.

The Maronite Rite is named for the austere 5th Century monk St. Maron, a Syriac Christian whose unique spirituality caused others to want to follow in his way. These followers were the beginnings of the Maronite movement, which spread to Lebanon and had a profound impact there due to the work of Maron’s disciple, Abraham of Cyrrhus.