205.251.5057
© Copyright St. Elias Maronite Church • 836 8th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 • 205-252-3867

History of St. Elias Maronite Church

Below is a brief timeline history time line of St. Elias Maronite Church. If

you would like to read a more detailed history of our church, CLICK HERE.

original St. Elias church
Blessing and Breaking Ground 1949 St. Elias church Construction St. Elias Construction
1910 With permission of Patriarch Elias Howayek, Rev. Mobaarek Bellama of the Antonine Order, came to serve the Maronite people who had immigrated from Lebanon to Birmingham. There was no church in which to worship God according to their ancestral Rite, the Aramaic-Syriac, the rite of the Language of Christ. Our people began to organize a parish. Permission was granted by Bishop E.P. Allen, the Bishop of the Diocese of Mobile. A decision was made to purchase a building between 20th and 21st Streets and 6th Avenue South which had served as a Protestant school. The building was remodeled and converted to a Catholic Church. Records show that on January 20, Annie Faridee was the first person to be baptized. Her godparents were Romanus Farshah and Susie Dwayhy. 1911 First wedding took place on October 4 between Ayoub George Wakeol and Deeby Assy. Best man was Beshara Zanaty, maid of honor was Martha Ghsoun. 1914 First funeral took place on January 6 for Debie Ayoub Waken; her burial was at Our Lady of Sorrows cemetery. On February 14, Bishop E.P. Allen dedicated the church in honor of St. Elias, the Prophet, “patron of the villages from which the faithful came,” (Wady-el-Arayesh). Rev. Lawrence J. Carroll was celebrant of the dedication Mass. Assisting were Rev. Eugene L. Sands and Rev. Phillip McCormack. The St. Bernard Abbey Choir chanted the Gregorian Mass. Fifteen priests and clergymen of different faiths were present. Fifty Knights of Columbus attended. The Melkite Rite Catholics attended the dedication Mass with the Maronites. A banquet was held that evening at the Empire Hotel. Dr. H.A. Elkourie was master of ceremonies. Speakers were Father Bellama, M.E. Linnehan, Judge Oscar Hundley, John W. O’Neill, Sterling A. Wood, H.J. Kribs and Arnold Masberg. 1917 Rev. Joseph Koury was named the second pastor of St. Elias Church. Sultana Wehby organized the efforts to purchase the first church organ. Her daughter, Josephine Wehby, assisted Father Koury with the Latin Mass by playing the organ. The choir members were Feiza Michwee, Lyda Ferris, Nim Wehby, and Mary Pharo. 1919 In May, the sacrament of Confirmation was administered to the first class by Bishop Allen. The first class consisted of Jamile Bohorfoush, Victoria Khoury, Joe McCary, Alexander Shaia, and Mickie Tebsharany. 1920 Rev. George Aziz was named the third pastor of St. Elias. Fr. Aziz, with the help of Josephine Wehby, wrote the music and Arabic phonetically for the Maronite liturgy so the choir could read it. Zanie Monseur became the organist as Josephine directed the choir. 1923 Rev. Joseph Ganem was named the fourth pastor of St Elias Church. Father Ganem was buried in Elmwood Cemetery (Lot 490, Block 29). 1925 Rt. Rev. Chorbishop Joseph Shebayah, the Patriarchal Missionary, was named the fifth pastor of St Elias Church. 1926 Rev. Joseph Shaboth was named the sixth pastor of St Elias Church. On February 28, the sacrament of the Eucharist was administerd by Father Shaboth to the first Holy Communion Class at St. Elias. The members of this class were Adel Boackle, Lily M. Kassouf, Daza Ant. Kouri, Mary Mezrani and Rosalie Mezrani. 1929 Rev. Paul Rizk was named the seventh pastor of St. Elias Church for a period of six months. Rev. George Aziz was appointed again as pastor in July, serving as the eighth pastor until 1935. 1935 St. Elias Church was placed under the direction of Rev. Edward Shea, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. During this time, Rev. Herman Cazalas lived at St. Elias for 6 months. 1937 Rev Joseph Yazbek was named the ninth pastor of St Elias Church 1938 St. Elias was served by Rev. Joseph Schmutz, then pastor of Immaculate Conception Church which was located at 17th Street and 6th Avenue South. 1939 Many Benedictine priests from St. Bernard in Cullman serve the parish. Later in the year, St Elias was temporarily closed. 1940 On May 8, Louis A. Boohaker received a letter from Bishop T.J. Toolen stating that if the people of the parish did not assume the responsibility for the Church’s operations expenses, then “…I will close the church and put it up for sale. I have come to the end of my patience with the parish of St. Elias. If they rally around it, support it, fix it up, then it will go on. Otherwise, we will close it entirely. This question will have to be decided in the next two weeks. There will never be a new St. Elias. There has been too much trouble with this one.” On September 23, Rev. Joseph Ferris Abi- Chedid was named the tenth pastor of St Elias Church. There were sixty-one registered members and Father Abi-Chedid was faced with the task of re-opening the church. Records show that the treasury contained a total of $7.87 and a fund of $311.00 raised by the Ladies’ Altar Society who never ceased working even though the church was closed. The funds from treasure and the Altar Society were used to repair the church and the pastor’s living quarters. 1944 The Cooperation Society of St. Elias Marontie Parish Girl’s Club was formed and held its initial meeting on December 3. 1945 The Birmingham Realty Company put together a transaction for the old church building and property located at 20th Street and 6th Avenue South to be sold for $45,000.00 and for a full square block of land located at 8th Street and 9th Avenue South to be purchased for the new St. Elias Church building. St. Elias Altar Boy Society is organized. 1949 On November 9th, ground was broken for the construction of the new St Elias Church. In 1947 Father Abi-Chedid, Yousef (Joseph) Habshey and Sam Boackle traveled to Lebanon to bring back marble from the Habshey quarry for the cornerstones of the new church. 1950 The new St Elias Maronite Church building was completed and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated at midnight on Christmas. The first baptisms in new church took place on December 31 for Najeeb Yousef Boohaker, Christy Ann Butrus, Patricia Nell Domit and Thomas Michel Milton. 1951 The first funeral in the new church took place on January 26 with the death of John T. Saab, who is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. The first wedding in the new church took place on March 26, when Louise R. Tanory and James Austin Prestwood exchanged their wedding vows. The first Holy Communion class in the new church consisted of six students who received the Eucharist on May 27. The members of the class were: Joseph Frank Anderson, Haickel Paul Boackle, Sammy John DiPiazza, Helen Edward Kassouf, Janice Edward Kassouf, Ann Sa-eed Stephen, and Juliette Therese Wehby. 1953 Bishop T. J. Toolen administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the first class in the new St. Elias Church on March 22. Those receiving the sacrament were: Frank Joseph Anderson, Abdallah J. Boohaker, Diane Gantous, Phillip F. Gantous, Terrs Ann Gantous, Helen Kassouf, John J. Lusco, Annette Mezrano, James A. Mezrano, Louis L. Mezrano, Betty Mizerany, Fritz Niggler, John J. Saab, William G. Shaia, Celeste Sharbel, Georgette Sharbel, Diane Wehby, Joseph S. Wehby, Louis A. Zanaty, Peggy M.J. Zanaty. Sponsors for the class were Lyda Deep and Alexander Shaia. The Ladies' Altar Society donated the marble altar railing in the church. 1955 Junior Matrons donated the main marble altar for the church. 1958 On December 18, ground was broken for the Church Hall. 1960 The Golden Jubilee of St. Elias Church was celebrated. Rev. Joseph F. Abi-Chedid was elevated to the rank of Chorbishop and he celebrated 20 years at St. Elias. Chorbishop Mansour Stephen dedicated the church. 1962 The St. Elias Church rectory was completed. His Beatitude Paul Peter Meouchi, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, dedicated the rectory and the church hall. The total cost for the church hall building and its furnishings was approximately $180,000.00. The parishioners of St. Elias contributed a Hammond Organ to Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. on the occasion of its dedication. A delegation headed by Chorbishop Abi-Chedid attended the Patriarchal dedication. 1966 The Maronite Apostolic Exarchate of the United States was established. The Most Reverend Francis M. Zayek, Exarch, arrived in Detroit, Michigan. A delegation from St. Elias parish, headed by Chorbishop Abi-Chedid, attended the ceremonies in Detroit. On November 3, Rev. Dominic Ashkar was appointed assistant pastor of St. Elias. 1969 The St. Elias school rooms were built. The St. Elias School Charitable Trust and Knights of St. Maron Charitable Trust were established. Chorbishop Joseph Abi-Chedid retired to Lebanon. 1970 Msgr. John Trad was named eleventh pastor of St. Elias Church and organized the parish's first MYO. 1971 On January 31st, Bishop Zayek visited St. Elias to confirm 90 parishioners. In June, Rev. Mr. Richard D. Saad, Deacon, was assigned to St. Elias. 1972 A delegation from St. Elias attended the ordination of Rev. Richard D. Saad in Detroit, Michigan on January 29. Father Saad was assigned to St. Elias as assistant pastor. In June, St. Elias hosted the Ninth Annual NAM convention. Fred Melof is Chairman. Archbishop Peter Sfeir attends. U.S. Congressman Abraham Kazan (D.-Texas) was the guest speaker at the convention banquet. Mayor George Seibels declared the week "Maronite Week in Birmingham". In July, Rev. Richard D. Saad was assigned as the temporary Administrator of St. Elias. 1973 Rev. Mr. Don J. Sawyer, Deacon is assigned to St Elias. 1974 St. Elias Parish delegation chartered a bus to Austin, Texas for the ordination of Rev. Don J. Sawyer. 1975 St. Elias Church, hall and rectory were remodeled. 1976 Rev. Richard D. Saad was named the twelfth pastor of St Elias. In July, Archbishop Roland Aboujaoude and Bishop Francis Zayek attended and spoke at the Southern Federation Convention in Birmingham. 1977 St. Elias parishioners participated in the pilgrimage to Rome for the canonization of the first canonized Lebanese saint, St. Sharbel Makhlouf. 1978 The Glen Iris Citizen Participation Meetings in the U. S. Community Development Program were hosted by St. Elias Church. Rev. Richard Saad served as vice-president and as president (1977- 1980). St Elias Vacation Bible School begins. 1980 In January, the executive board of NAM met in Birmingham at St. Elias Church. Rev. Fahed Azar was ordained at St Elias on June 28. This was the first ordination ever to be celebrated at St. Elias Church. The National Order of St. Sharbel met in Birmingham. 1981 St. Elias hosted Birmingham Southern College’s "Birmingfind" Project - a historical research project of the Lebanese Community in Birmingham. 1982 In January, St. Elias again hosted the NAM executive board winter meeting. The Chorbishop Joseph F. Abi-Chedid Library was dedicated. Chorbishop Abi-Chedid dies in Lebanon on March 14. On April 25, St. Elias parish offered a 40th Day Memorial Liturgy and also dedicated the Holy Week Services to the memory of Chrorbishop Abi-Chedid. 1983 Archbishop George Scanadar of Zahle, Lebanon, visited the St. Elias community and Bishop John Chedid, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of St. Maron – USA, made a canonical visit to the parish. 1984 On January 23, the Birmingham Historical Society saluted the Lebanese community in Birmingham at their annual meeting at the Botanical gardens. The National Order of St. Sharbel held its Winter Retreat at St. Elias. In April, Rev. Maron Abi-nader is named the thirteenth pastor of St Elias. Rev. William J. Decker is named the fourteenth pastor of St Elias on July 20. 1985 Rev. Richard D Saad was appointed the fifteenth pastor of St Elias on April 24. St. Elias announces its Diamond Jubilee and Year of Spiritual Renewal. A delegation of St. Elias Parishioners participated in the Pilgrimage to Rome for the Beautification of Blessed Rafka Al-Rayes. 1986 Rev. Antoun Saad was appointed assistant pastor of St. Elias on August 19. The St. Elias Diamond Jubilee Year of Spiritual Renewal ended on Nov. 1 with a visit of Archbishop Zayek and all former pastors. 1987 Beverly Kassouf Kimes was elected as NAM president (1987 - 1990). Junior MYO was organized under the direction of Carlo Joseph. 1988 His Beatitude Nesrallah Peter Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch, visited St. Elias Church from July 5-8. Proclamation and Key to the City of Birmingham is given by Mayor Arrington. The Patriarch appears on EWTN with Mother Angelica. 1989 Rev. Paul Peter Boackle was ordained to the Priesthood on September 30th. 1990 St. Elias celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Ordination of Father Fahd Azar. 1992 Rev. Richard Saad celebrated his 20th Ordination Anniversary. NAM Board meets in Birmingham. L. Paul Kassouf received NAM Recognition. New Marble Altar of Sacrifice, donated by Bishop Boland of Birmingham, was installed in the Sanctuary in memory of Kevin Butrus. Gerald L. Kimes was elected as NAM President (1992 - 1994). On December 26, Rev. Richard D. Saad was elevated Papal Chamberlain to His Holiness with title of Monsignor. 1993 Rev. Robert Pensenstadler was appointed Assistant Pastor of St. Elias. On May 9, Archbishop Zayek visited to install Paul Kassouf as Knight of the Order of St. Gregory and Naomi Kassouf as Lady of Papal House. St. Elias hosted the 30th Annual NAM convention, July 28-August 1 at the Sheraton Hotel. Gerald L. Kimes, Sr. is Chairman. Joseph Stephens and Samuel Wehby were ordained as Sub-Deacons in December. 1994 Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles was created by Pope John Paul II. Most Rev. John G. Chedid, first Epach, was enthroned. 1995 Eparch John Chedid visited St. Elias. Groundbreaking for Multi-Purpose educational building. 1996 Multipurpose Building with three classrooms and reception hall was built on the North side of the church. Fr. Maron Abi-Nader died in Lebanon. 1997 St. Maron Banquet honored Monsignor Richard Saad on his 25th Ordination Anniversary with a special program. 1998 John Paul Kimes was ordained Sub-Deacon for Eparchy at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. 1999 First annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival was held. Sub-Deacon John Paul Kimes was ordained a Deacon by Bishop John Chedid. 2000 90th Anniversary of parish founding was celebrated. Rev. John Paul Kimes was ordained to the Priesthood at St. Elias on July 20. Joseph Stephens was ordained as a Deacon on July 22. Jubilee Gala Celebration was held on November 25. 2002 Bishop Robert Shaheen visited St. Elias during Lenten season. Rodrigue Constatin was assigned to St. Elias. Chorbishop John Trad died in Australia 2003 Deacon Armando Elkoury was assigned to St. Elias for the summer. 2004 Bishop Shukrallah Harb visited on Hosanna Sunday. Bishop Robert Shaheen ordained Chorbishop Richard Saad on June 15 as third Chorbishop serving St. Elias and fourth in the Eparchy. 2007 Samuel Wehby was ordained as a Deacon on September 21 by Bishop Robert Shaheen. 2008 10th Annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival was held on April 11 & 12. Groundbreaking for Northside development. Capital Campaign begins for "The Next 100 Years". 2009 Interior church renovation began. Bishop Robert visited to dedicate the Northside Development, bless the new entrance and to break ground for Our Lady of Lebanon Grotto and Columbarium. 2010 100th Anniversary of parish was celebrated. 100 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament were observed. Lenten Mission was held with Msgr. Don Sawyer. St Elias hosted the 47th Annual NAM convention July 7 - 11. Mark & Kimberly Boackle are co-chairpersons. Bishop Robert Shaheen visited the parish twice – once for the Convention and again for the closing of the Centennial Year at Thanksgiving, 2010. Also in 2010 the area in front of the rectory was redesigned, adding limestone pavers, new steps from the 9th avenue side and new landscaping. 2012 Deacon Joseph Robert Stephens, Sr. died on November 10, 2012. He was the first permanent deacon to serve at St. Elias. 2013 The 15th annual St. Elias Food and Cultural Festival was held April 12-13, 2014. A new feature of the festival was a 5K run benefitting the SUKI Foundation. 2014 The kitchen renovation and expansion was done. Chorbishop Richard D. Saad was named Vicar General of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon by the Eparchy’s third bishop, Most Reverend A. Elias Zaidan. Bishop Zaidan visited St. Elias for the first time as bishop March 28-30, 2014. During his visit he ordained Subdeacons Mark Ferris and James Wehby and blessed the Deacon Joseph Stephens Memorial and the newly renovated kitchen. On September 12-13, 2004 Maronite Patriarch Bechara Cardinal Peter Rai made a Pastoral Visit to St. Elias. There was a full schedule of activities during his visit, including Divine Liturgy, a banquet, Safro and a parish brunch. This was the first visit of a Patriarch to St. Elias since 1988. On December 7, 2014 Bishop A. Elias Zaidan visited St. Elias for the third time this year to install Paul Peter Bolus and Norman Edward Bolus into the Pontifical Equestrian Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon laypersons by the Pope. The only others from our parish to receive this honor were Paul and Naomi Kassouf in 1993. 2015 On January 15, 2015 Deacon Samuel J. Wehby died. He was the second permanent deacon to serve St. Elias and he had served for 8 years. From October 28-30, 2015 St. Elias hosted the relics of St. Sharbel. Bishop Elias Zaidan was with us for the first 2 days of the visit. 2016 At the St. Maron Banquet on February 6, 2016 we honored 15 parishioners who were 90 years old or older.
Father Abi-Chedid
© Copyright St. Elias Maronite Church • 836 8th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 • 205-252-3867
205.251.5057

History of St. Elias Maronite Church

Below is a brief timeline history time line of St. Elias Maronite

Church. If you would like to read a more detailed history of our

church, CLICK HERE.

original St. Elias church
1910 With permission of Patriarch Elias Howayek, Rev. Mobaarek Bellama of the Antonine Order, came to serve the Maronite people who had immigrated from Lebanon to Birmingham. There was no church in which to worship God according to their ancestral Rite, the Aramaic- Syriac, the rite of the Language of Christ. Our people began to organize a parish. Permission was granted by Bishop E.P. Allen, the Bishop of the Diocese of Mobile. A decision was made to purchase a building between 20th and 21st Streets and 6th Avenue South which had served as a Protestant school. The building was remodeled and converted to a Catholic Church. Records show that on January 20, Annie Faridee was the first person to be baptized. Her godparents were Romanus Farshah and Susie Dwayhy. 1911 First wedding took place on October 4 between Ayoub George Wakeol and Deeby Assy. Best man was Beshara Zanaty, maid of honor was Martha Ghsoun. 1914 First funeral took place on January 6 for Debie Ayoub Waken; her burial was at Our Lady of Sorrows cemetery. On February 14, Bishop E.P. Allen dedicated the church in honor of St. Elias, the Prophet, “patron of the villages from which the faithful came,” (Wady-el- Arayesh). Rev. Lawrence J. Carroll was celebrant of the dedication Mass. Assisting were Rev. Eugene L. Sands and Rev. Phillip McCormack. The St. Bernard Abbey Choir chanted the Gregorian Mass. Fifteen priests and clergymen of different faiths were present. Fifty Knights of Columbus attended. The Melkite Rite Catholics attended the dedication Mass with the Maronites. A banquet was held that evening at the Empire Hotel. Dr. H.A. Elkourie was master of ceremonies. Speakers were Father Bellama, M.E. Linnehan, Judge Oscar Hundley, John W. O’Neill, Sterling A. Wood, H.J. Kribs and Arnold Masberg. 1917 Rev. Joseph Koury was named the second pastor of St. Elias Church. Sultana Wehby organized the efforts to purchase the first church organ. Her daughter, Josephine Wehby, assisted Father Koury with the Latin Mass by playing the organ. The choir members were Feiza Michwee, Lyda Ferris, Nim Wehby, and Mary Pharo. 1919 In May, the sacrament of Confirmation was administered to the first class by Bishop Allen. The first class consisted of Jamile Bohorfoush, Victoria Khoury, Joe McCary, Alexander Shaia, and Mickie Tebsharany. 1920 Rev. George Aziz was named the third pastor of St. Elias. Fr. Aziz, with the help of Josephine Wehby, wrote the music and Arabic phonetically for the Maronite liturgy so the choir could read it. Zanie Monseur became the organist as Josephine directed the choir. 1923 Rev. Joseph Ganem was named the fourth pastor of St Elias Church. Father Ganem was buried in Elmwood Cemetery (Lot 490, Block 29). 1925 Rt. Rev. Chorbishop Joseph Shebayah, the Patriarchal Missionary, was named the fifth pastor of St Elias Church. 1926 Rev. Joseph Shaboth was named the sixth pastor of St Elias Church. On February 28, the sacrament of the Eucharist was administerd by Father Shaboth to the first Holy Communion Class at St. Elias. The members of this class were Adel Boackle, Lily M. Kassouf, Daza Ant. Kouri, Mary Mezrani and Rosalie Mezrani. 1929 Rev. Paul Rizk was named the seventh pastor of St. Elias Church for a period of six months. Rev. George Aziz was appointed again as pastor in July, serving as the eighth pastor until 1935. 1935 St. Elias Church was placed under the direction of Rev. Edward Shea, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. During this time, Rev. Herman Cazalas lived at St. Elias for 6 months. 1937 Rev Joseph Yazbek was named the ninth pastor of St Elias Church 1938 St. Elias was served by Rev. Joseph Schmutz, then pastor of Immaculate Conception Church which was located at 17th Street and 6th Avenue South. 1939 Many Benedictine priests from St. Bernard in Cullman serve the parish. Later in the year, St Elias was temporarily closed. 1940 On May 8, Louis A. Boohaker received a letter from Bishop T.J. Toolen stating that if the people of the parish did not assume the responsibility for the Church’s operations expenses, then “…I will close the church and put it up for sale. I have come to the end of my patience with the parish of St. Elias. If they rally around it, support it, fix it up, then it will go on. Otherwise, we will close it entirely. This question will have to be decided in the next two weeks. There will never be a new St. Elias. There has been too much trouble with this one.” On September 23, Rev. Joseph Ferris Abi-Chedid was named the tenth pastor of St Elias Church. There were sixty-one registered members and Father Abi-Chedid was faced with the task of re-opening the church. Records show that the treasury contained a total of $7.87 and a fund of $311.00 raised by the Ladies’ Altar Society who never ceased working even though the church was closed. The funds from treasure and the Altar Society were used to repair the church and the pastor’s living quarters. 1944 The Cooperation Society of St. Elias Marontie Parish Girl’s Club was formed and held its initial meeting on December 3. 1945 The Birmingham Realty Company put together a transaction for the old church building and property located at 20th Street and 6th Avenue South to be sold for $45,000.00 and for a full square block of land located at 8th Street and 9th Avenue South to be purchased for the new St. Elias Church building. St. Elias Altar Boy Society is organized. 1949 On November 9th, ground was broken for the construction of the new St Elias Church. In 1947 Father Abi-Chedid, Yousef (Joseph) Habshey and Sam Boackle traveled to Lebanon to bring back marble from the Habshey quarry for the cornerstones of the new church. 1950 The new St Elias Maronite Church building was completed and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated at midnight on Christmas. The first baptisms in new church took place on December 31 for Najeeb Yousef Boohaker, Christy Ann Butrus, Patricia Nell Domit and Thomas Michel Milton. 1951 The first funeral in the new church took place on January 26 with the death of John T. Saab, who is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. The first wedding in the new church took place on March 26, when Louise R. Tanory and James Austin Prestwood exchanged their wedding vows. The first Holy Communion class in the new church consisted of six students who received the Eucharist on May 27. The members of the class were: Joseph Frank Anderson, Haickel Paul Boackle, Sammy John DiPiazza, Helen Edward Kassouf, Janice Edward Kassouf, Ann Sa- eed Stephen, and Juliette Therese Wehby. 1953 Bishop T. J. Toolen administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the first class in the new St. Elias Church on March 22. Those receiving the sacrament were: Frank Joseph Anderson, Abdallah J. Boohaker, Diane Gantous, Phillip F. Gantous, Terrs Ann Gantous, Helen Kassouf, John J. Lusco, Annette Mezrano, James A. Mezrano, Louis L. Mezrano, Betty Mizerany, Fritz Niggler, John J. Saab, William G. Shaia, Celeste Sharbel, Georgette Sharbel, Diane Wehby, Joseph S. Wehby, Louis A. Zanaty, Peggy M.J. Zanaty. Sponsors for the class were Lyda Deep and Alexander Shaia. The Ladies' Altar Society donated the marble altar railing in the church. 1955 Junior Matrons donated the main marble altar for the church. 1958 On December 18, ground was broken for the Church Hall. 1960 The Golden Jubilee of St. Elias Church was celebrated. Rev. Joseph F. Abi-Chedid was elevated to the rank of Chorbishop and he celebrated 20 years at St. Elias. Chorbishop Mansour Stephen dedicated the church. 1962 The St. Elias Church rectory was completed. His Beatitude Paul Peter Meouchi, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, dedicated the rectory and the church hall. The total cost for the church hall building and its furnishings was approximately $180,000.00. The parishioners of St. Elias contributed a Hammond Organ to Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, D.C. on the occasion of its dedication. A delegation headed by Chorbishop Abi-Chedid attended the Patriarchal dedication. 1966 The Maronite Apostolic Exarchate of the United States was established. The Most Reverend Francis M. Zayek, Exarch, arrived in Detroit, Michigan. A delegation from St. Elias parish, headed by Chorbishop Abi-Chedid, attended the ceremonies in Detroit. On November 3, Rev. Dominic Ashkar was appointed assistant pastor of St. Elias. 1969 The St. Elias school rooms were built. The St. Elias School Charitable Trust and Knights of St. Maron Charitable Trust were established. Chorbishop Joseph Abi-Chedid retired to Lebanon. 1970 Msgr. John Trad was named eleventh pastor of St. Elias Church and organized the parish's first MYO. 1971 On January 31st, Bishop Zayek visited St. Elias to confirm 90 parishioners. In June, Rev. Mr. Richard D. Saad, Deacon, was assigned to St. Elias. 1972 A delegation from St. Elias attended the ordination of Rev. Richard D. Saad in Detroit, Michigan on January 29. Father Saad was assigned to St. Elias as assistant pastor. In June, St. Elias hosted the Ninth Annual NAM convention. Fred Melof is Chairman. Archbishop Peter Sfeir attends. U.S. Congressman Abraham Kazan (D.-Texas) was the guest speaker at the convention banquet. Mayor George Seibels declared the week "Maronite Week in Birmingham". In July, Rev. Richard D. Saad was assigned as the temporary Administrator of St. Elias. 1973 Rev. Mr. Don J. Sawyer, Deacon is assigned to St Elias. 1974 St. Elias Parish delegation chartered a bus to Austin, Texas for the ordination of Rev. Don J. Sawyer. 1975 St. Elias Church, hall and rectory were remodeled. 1976 Rev. Richard D. Saad was named the twelfth pastor of St Elias. In July, Archbishop Roland Aboujaoude and Bishop Francis Zayek attended and spoke at the Southern Federation Convention in Birmingham. 1977 St. Elias parishioners participated in the pilgrimage to Rome for the canonization of the first canonized Lebanese saint, St. Sharbel Makhlouf. 1978 The Glen Iris Citizen Participation Meetings in the U. S. Community Development Program were hosted by St. Elias Church. Rev. Richard Saad served as vice-president and as president (1977-1980). St Elias Vacation Bible School begins. 1980 In January, the executive board of NAM met in Birmingham at St. Elias Church. Rev. Fahed Azar was ordained at St Elias on June 28. This was the first ordination ever to be celebrated at St. Elias Church. The National Order of St. Sharbel met in Birmingham. 1981 St. Elias hosted Birmingham Southern College’s "Birmingfind" Project - a historical research project of the Lebanese Community in Birmingham. 1982 In January, St. Elias again hosted the NAM executive board winter meeting. The Chorbishop Joseph F. Abi-Chedid Library was dedicated. Chorbishop Abi-Chedid dies in Lebanon on March 14. On April 25, St. Elias parish offered a 40th Day Memorial Liturgy and also dedicated the Holy Week Services to the memory of Chrorbishop Abi-Chedid. 1983 Archbishop George Scanadar of Zahle, Lebanon, visited the St. Elias community and Bishop John Chedid, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of St. Maron – USA, made a canonical visit to the parish. 1984 On January 23, the Birmingham Historical Society saluted the Lebanese community in Birmingham at their annual meeting at the Botanical gardens. The National Order of St. Sharbel held its Winter Retreat at St. Elias. In April, Rev. Maron Abi-nader is named the thirteenth pastor of St Elias. Rev. William J. Decker is named the fourteenth pastor of St Elias on July 20. 1985 Rev. Richard D Saad was appointed the fifteenth pastor of St Elias on April 24. St. Elias announces its Diamond Jubilee and Year of Spiritual Renewal. A delegation of St. Elias Parishioners participated in the Pilgrimage to Rome for the Beautification of Blessed Rafka Al-Rayes. 1986 Rev. Antoun Saad was appointed assistant pastor of St. Elias on August 19. The St. Elias Diamond Jubilee Year of Spiritual Renewal ended on Nov. 1 with a visit of Archbishop Zayek and all former pastors. 1987 Beverly Kassouf Kimes was elected as NAM president (1987 - 1990). Junior MYO was organized under the direction of Carlo Joseph. 1988 His Beatitude Nesrallah Peter Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch, visited St. Elias Church from July 5-8. Proclamation and Key to the City of Birmingham is given by Mayor Arrington. The Patriarch appears on EWTN with Mother Angelica. 1989 Rev. Paul Peter Boackle was ordained to the Priesthood on September 30th. 1990 St. Elias celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Ordination of Father Fahd Azar. 1992 Rev. Richard Saad celebrated his 20th Ordination Anniversary. NAM Board meets in Birmingham. L. Paul Kassouf received NAM Recognition. New Marble Altar of Sacrifice, donated by Bishop Boland of Birmingham, was installed in the Sanctuary in memory of Kevin Butrus. Gerald L. Kimes was elected as NAM President (1992 - 1994). On December 26, Rev. Richard D. Saad was elevated Papal Chamberlain to His Holiness with title of Monsignor. 1993 Rev. Robert Pensenstadler was appointed Assistant Pastor of St. Elias. On May 9, Archbishop Zayek visited to install Paul Kassouf as Knight of the Order of St. Gregory and Naomi Kassouf as Lady of Papal House. St. Elias hosted the 30th Annual NAM convention, July 28-August 1 at the Sheraton Hotel. Gerald L. Kimes, Sr. is Chairman. Joseph Stephens and Samuel Wehby were ordained as Sub-Deacons in December. 1994 Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles was created by Pope John Paul II. Most Rev. John G. Chedid, first Epach, was enthroned. 1995 Eparch John Chedid visited St. Elias. Groundbreaking for Multi- Purpose educational building. 1996 Multipurpose Building with three classrooms and reception hall was built on the North side of the church. Fr. Maron Abi-Nader died in Lebanon. 1997 St. Maron Banquet honored Monsignor Richard Saad on his 25th Ordination Anniversary with a special program. 1998 John Paul Kimes was ordained Sub-Deacon for Eparchy at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. 1999 First annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival was held. Sub- Deacon John Paul Kimes was ordained a Deacon by Bishop John Chedid. 2000 90th Anniversary of parish founding was celebrated. Rev. John Paul Kimes was ordained to the Priesthood at St. Elias on July 20. Joseph Stephens was ordained as a Deacon on July 22. Jubilee Gala Celebration was held on November 25. 2002 Bishop Robert Shaheen visited St. Elias during Lenten season. Rodrigue Constatin was assigned to St. Elias. Chorbishop John Trad died in Australia 2003 Deacon Armando Elkoury was assigned to St. Elias for the summer. 2004 Bishop Shukrallah Harb visited on Hosanna Sunday. Bishop Robert Shaheen ordained Chorbishop Richard Saad on June 15 as third Chorbishop serving St. Elias and fourth in the Eparchy. 2007 Samuel Wehby was ordained as a Deacon on September 21 by Bishop Robert Shaheen. 2008 10th Annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival was held on April 11 & 12. Groundbreaking for Northside development. Capital Campaign begins for "The Next 100 Years". 2009 Interior church renovation began. Bishop Robert visited to dedicate the Northside Development, bless the new entrance and to break ground for Our Lady of Lebanon Grotto and Columbarium. 2010 100th Anniversary of parish was celebrated. 100 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament were observed. Lenten Mission was held with Msgr. Don Sawyer. St Elias hosted the 47th Annual NAM convention July 7 - 11. Mark & Kimberly Boackle are co-chairpersons. Bishop Robert Shaheen visited the parish twice once for the Convention and again for the closing of the Centennial Year at Thanksgiving, 2010. Also in 2010 the area in front of the rectory was redesigned, adding limestone pavers, new steps from the 9th avenue side and new landscaping. 2012 Deacon Joseph Robert Stephens, Sr. died on November 10, 2012. He was the first permanent deacon to serve at St. Elias. 2013 The 15th annual St. Elias Food and Cultural Festival was held April 12- 13, 2014. A new feature of the festival was a 5K run benefitting the SUKI Foundation. 2014 The kitchen renovation and expansion was done. Chorbishop Richard D. Saad was named Vicar General of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon by the Eparchy’s third bishop, Most Reverend A. Elias Zaidan. Bishop Zaidan visited St. Elias for the first time as bishop March 28-30, 2014. During his visit he ordained Subdeacons Mark Ferris and James Wehby and blessed the Deacon Joseph Stephens Memorial and the newly renovated kitchen. On September 12-13, 2004 Maronite Patriarch Bechara Cardinal Peter Rai made a Pastoral Visit to St. Elias. There was a full schedule of activities during his visit, including Divine Liturgy, a banquet, Safro and a parish brunch. This was the first visit of a Patriarch to St. Elias since 1988. On December 7, 2014 Bishop A. Elias Zaidan visited St. Elias for the third time this year to install Paul Peter Bolus and Norman Edward Bolus into the Pontifical Equestrian Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon laypersons by the Pope. The only others from our parish to receive this honor were Paul and Naomi Kassouf in 1993. 2015 On January 15, 2015 Deacon Samuel J. Wehby died. He was the second permanent deacon to serve St. Elias and he had served for 8 years. From October 28-30, 2015 St. Elias hosted the relics of St. Sharbel. Bishop Elias Zaidan was with us for the first 2 days of the visit. 2016 At the St. Maron Banquet on February 6, 2016 we honored 15 parishioners who were 90 years old or older.