205.251.5057 info@stelias.org

CHURCH HISTORY

Timeline History

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.1958On 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.1975St. 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.

 

 

 

Detailed History

Saint Elias Maronite Catholic Church was established in 1910 in order to serve a growing population of people (primarily from what is now the country of Lebanon, and others from the Middle East countries) who had immigrated to Birmingham. Maronite Catholics practice their ancestral Rite, yet maintain the same essentials as other Rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The Maronite Church has consistently maintained its bonds with Rome and the Holy See. The Maronites have their own Patriarch and Bishops and ancient traditions which include the use of Aramaic (the language of Christ) in its liturgy. There was no church in Birmingham in which these Catholics could worship God according to their Rite and these rich traditions. By 1906 there were about 150 Eastern Rite people in the city. Father James E. Coyle, Pastor of Saint Paul’s and chaplain to the group, had invited Eastern Rite Priests to give missions at Saint Paul’s for the parishioners who were members of the Maronite (and Melkite) Rites.

In 1907, Rev. Mobarek Bellama became a missionary to the Maronite Rite Catholics in the United States. Father Coyle asked Bishop E. P. Allen for a Maronite Priest to serve the people of Birmingham, and in January of 1910, Father Bellama arrived in Birmingham. He resided at Saint Paul’s Rectory and held the Maronite Rite Liturgy in a room at Saint Paul’s School while organizing a congregation and establishing the Saint Elias Maronite Catholic parish.

Property was purchased on Sixth Avenue South, between 20th and 21st Streets, and the existing building on the property was remodeled and converted into the Church. On February 14, 1914, Bishop Allen dedicated the new Church in honor of Saint Elias, “patron of the villages from which the faithful came.” The Maronite population had more than doubled to over 300 by then and attendance for the dedication Mass was beyond the capacity for the first Maronite Rite Church built south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1917 Rev. Joseph Koury was named the second pastor of the Church and Bishop Allen administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the first class at Saint Elias in 1919. Rev. George Aziz became the third pastor in 1920 and rewrote the music and Arabic phonetically so the choir and parishioners could fully participate in the Liturgy. Rev. Joseph Ghanem was named 4th pastor in 1923, Chorbishop Joseph Shebayah 5th pastor in 1925, Rev. Joseph Shaboth 6th pastor in 1926 Rev. Paul Rizk 7th in 1929. . Rev. George Aziz was again appointed 8th pastor in 1929. From 1935-1937 St. Elias was under the direction of Latin rite priests Reverend Edward Shea and Rev. Herman Cazalas. Rev. Joseph Yazbek was appointed 9th pastor in 1937. Due to the financial hardships created by the Great Depression, the parish suffered greatly: registered parishioners dropped to 61 and it was unable to sustain the operations of the Church. By 1938 Rev. Joseph Schumtz, Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, and Rev. Herman Cazalas, and others, including some Benedictine priests from St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, were appointed to serve Saint Elias part-time. In 1939 Saint Elias was temporarily closed. In less than a year, Rev. Joseph Ferris Abi-Chedid was appointed the 10th pastor and tasked with reopening the church with a treasury fund of $7.87 and $311.00 raised by the Ladies’ Altar Society (which had never ceased working to raise funds while the Church was closed). Those funds were used to repair the Church and Rectory and plans were made for future expansion. By 1949 a new site had been purchased, a square block on Eighth Street between 8th and 9th Avenues South, for the relocation of the Church. In 1947, Father Abi-Chedid, Yousef (Joseph) Habshey and Sam Boackle traveled to Lebanon to obtain marble from the Habshey family quarry to be used for the cornerstones of the church. The structure was completed in December, 1950 and the first Mass in the new Church was offered on Christmas Day. In 1958, ground was broken for the Church Hall.

Saint Elias celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1960 and His Beatitude Paul Peter Meouchi, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East dedicated the new Church and Church Hall. Rev. Abi-Chedid was ordained Chorbishop.

In 1962 the St. Elias church rectory was completed and dedicated.

In 1966 Pope Paul VI established the Maronite Apostolic Exarchate in the United States. Most Reverend Francis M. Zayek was named Exarch of the Exarchate of Saint Maron, with headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. In 1970 Msgr. John Trad was named the 11th pastor. In 1972 Rev. Richard D. Saad was assigned to Saint Elias as Assistant Pastor and then as Temporary Administrator and the Exarchate was raised to the rank of an Eparchy (Diocese). In June Saint Elias Parish hosted the ninth annual National Apostolate of Maronites (“NAM”) Convention, a first for Birmingham, with Archbishop Peter Sfair, representative of Pope Paul VI, in attendance. U.S. Congressman Abraham Kazan of Texas served as banquet speaker. The President of Lebanon, Suleiman Franjieh, addressed the convention via telephone connection during the banquet.

Rev. Richard D. Saad was appointed the 12th pastor in 1976 and in July Archibishop Roland Aboujaoude and Bishop Francis Zayek attended and spoke at the Southern Federation Convention in Birmingham. In 1980, Rev. Fahed Azar was ordained at the Church, the Order of St. Sharbel met at the Church (and subsequently conducted its winter retreat in Birmingham in 1984), and the Church hosted the Executive Board of NAM in 1980 and 1982. Rev. Maron Abi-Nader was appointed 13th pastor in 1984, and Rev. William J. Decker was appointed 14th pastor later in 1984. Rev. Richard D. Saad was reappointed 15th pastor of Saint Elias in 1985, the year of its Diamond Jubilee and Year of Spiritual Renewal and hosted Archbishop Francis Zayek, all living former pastors, Bishop Joseph Vath and Msgr. George Wehby, Vicar-General. In 1988 His Beatitude Nesrallah Peter Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch, visited the Church. In 1989 Saint Elias held its second ordination for Rev. (Hikeael) Paul Peter Boackle. In 1992 Rev. Richard Saad was elevated to the honor of Papal Chamberlain, with the title of Monsignor. In 1993 Saint Elias hosted NAM for the second time.

In 1996 a multipurpose building with 3 classrooms and a reception hall was built on the north side of the church.

In 2000 and 2007, respectively, Deacons Joe Stephens and Sam Wehby were ordained. In 2000 Rev. John Paul Kimes became the third priest to be ordained in Saint Elias and is currently assigned to the Vatican in the Office for the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith. In 2004 Monsignor Richard Saad was ordained Chorbishop.

2010 marks the 100th Anniversary of Saint Elias. For the third time, Saint Elias will host the Maronite Convention. Saint Elias is a vibrant, growing Church, committed to its Mission, its parishioners and the surrounding community. Its parishioners continue to hold various leadership roles in NAM, religious education enrollment increases every year, and summers are filled with parish picnics, Wednesday Family nights, classes in Arabic and adult education, and lectures on family health. For over 10 years Saint Elias has conducted its Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival. Attendance at the two (2) day event has grown to over seven (7) thousand. Traditional foods are made by the parishioners. Over $195,000 in proceeds from the Festival has been donated to over 17 different local, national, and international charities.

Under the leadership of Chorbishop Richard Saad, and in preparation for its Centennial Year, the Parish kicked off its first-ever Faith.Family.Heritage Capital Campaign in 2009. A new covered side entrance to the Church and additional parking was created. In addition, a complete renovation of the Church interior, and construction of a Grotto and Columbarium, was completed in 2009. Saint Elias has grown in its 100 years to over 1200 parishioners, representing over 400 families. The construction financed by the Faith.Family.Heritage Capital Campaign, and the establishment of a Foundation designed to fund the needs of the Church, will ensure the future of Saint Elias Maronite Catholic Church for generations to come.

In 2010 St. Elias celebrated its Centennial Year with a number of special events. One hundred consecutive hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was observed. A Lenten Mission was held with Monsignor Don Sawyer. St. Elias hosted the 47th Annual NAM Convention July 7-11, 2010 with Mark and Kimberly Boackle as co-chairpersons. Bishop Robert Shaheen was here for the convention and 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.

On November 10, 2012 Deacon Joseph Roberts Stephens, Sr. died. He was the first permanent deacon to serve St. Elias and he had served for 12 years.

In 2013 the 15th annual St. Elias Food and Cultural Festival was held April 12-13. This was the most successful festival yet with additional television coverage. A 5K run was added, benefitting the SUKI Foundation, which helps children with RETT Syndrome and their families.

In 2014 a kitchen renovation and expansion project was completed. Chorbishop Richard D. Saad was named Vicar General of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon by the Eparchy’s third bishop, Bishop A. Elias Zaidan. A special Memorial in honor of the late Deacon Joe Stephens was built. Bishop Zaidan visited St. Elias March 28-30, 2014 for the first time as bishop. During his visit he ordained Subdeacons Mark Ferris and Jimmy Wehby and blessed the newly renovated kitchen and the Deacon Joe Stephens Memorial.

On September 12-13, 2014 Maronite Patriarch Bechara Cardinal Peter Rai made a pastoral visit to St. Elias. He was accompanied by his Vicar General, Archbishop Paul Sayah and our Bishop Elias Zaidan. We had a full schedule of activities during his visit including a Divine Liturgy, an evening banquet at The Club, a presentation by the parish children, Safro and a parish Brunch. He also dedicated the Deacon Joseph Stephens Memorial.

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.

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 was here for the opening of the 3 day celebration. There were special liturgies, time for confession and time for veneration of the relics.

At the St. Maron Banquet on February 6, 2016 we honored 15 parishioners who were 90 years old or older.

Sources:Lovett, R. G. (1980). Catholic Church in the Deep South (The Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama). NAM Convention 1993: St. Elias Birmingham July 28-August 1 (1993).

 

 

 

MASS SCHEDULE

Monday thru Friday: 8:00 am
Saturday: 5:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am and 10:30 am
Holy Days: 6:00 pm (eve) and 8:00 am
Confessions: Saturday: 4:00 pm
or anytime upon request

CONTACT

Rectory/Office: 205-251-5057

General: info@stelias.org
Abouna Peter: abounapeter@stelias.org
Father Richard: fatherrichard@stelias.org
Rosa Marie Sacco (secretary): rosamarie@stelias.org

 

LOCATION

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