A moving candlelight procession honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary highlighted a three-day celebration at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio, just south of Warren.
The faithful, many of the Maronite Catholic tradition, traveled from Youngstown, Cleveland and Akron as well as Pennsylvania and New York to participate in the 52nd annual Assumption pilgrimage.
The three-day observance began on Aug. 13 with an evening Mass celebrated by Youngstown Bishop George V. Murray. On the holyday, Aug. 15, the observance culminated with the Maronite Pontifical Liturgy celebration by several Eastern Rite bishops. It concluded with the procession and blessing of the icon of Our Lady of Lebanon.
More than 400 people attended the concluding Divine Liturgy and then with candles in hand, processed a short distance around the grounds while praying and singing hymns honoring the Blessed Mother. The procession halted at the statue of Our Lady of Lebanon, which overlooks the grounds.
The shrine was constructed more than 50 years ago with the cooperation of the Maronite (one of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic faith) parishes in Akron and Youngstown, Ohio and New Castle, Pennsylvania. The shrine project was approved by Pope St. John XXIII. It reflects the great devotion of the people of Lebanon to Our Lady where the original statue, giant in proportion, remains today.
The evening culminated with a fireworks display during the final blessing.
For more information about the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, visit ourladyoflebanonshrine.com.