Our Lady of Lebanon Parish History
The Lebanese Maronite emigrant families of the Dallas metroplex area dreamed for a long time to have their own spiritual home. Their dreams began to come into fruition in early 1990, when Fr. Elias Abdallah Zaidan (now Bishop in USA, then pastor of the St. George Maronite Church in San Antonio, Texas), began to travel the four and a half hour distance to celebrate the Mass in Dallas, Texas with the faithful. On October 14th, 1990, an official mission was established in Dallas led by permanent pastor,
Fr. Paul Marwan Tabet (now Bishop in Canada). That mission was named, Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Mission. Services were celebrated at the University of Dallas and at All Saints Catholic Church. This Mission began with approximately 30 families.
Just two years later, in October of 1992, through much effort and dedication, a property of 3.5 acres of land was purchased in a city near Dallas called Lewisville, Texas. This purchase included an 18,000 square foot church building with a room for religious education and a small parish Hall. On November 14, 1992, the building was dedicated by Bishop John George Chedid (who was the Bishop of the diocese of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles at that time). In August of 1993, Fr. Andre’ Estefan was assigned as pastor for this Mission. At this same time, the Roman Rite (Latin) families began to also join our church and our Mission began to grow.
In October 1994, we held our first annual Lebanese Food Festival on the property to expose our culture and to raise money for the church. This year, 2015, we will present our 20th Annual Food Festival.
In September of 1998, Fr. Assaad ElBasha was assigned to lead the Our Lady of Lebanon Mission in Lewisville, Texas. In 1999, our Mission became a Church. The Parish, under his prayerful leadership, is committed to community service, daily Mass, weekly confession, offering religious education for our children from kindergarten through high school, and daily Adoration of the Holy Eucharist.
How joyful was our community when both our founder, Fr. Elias Abdallah Zaidan, and our first pastor,
Fr. Paul Marwan Tabet became Bishops at our beautiful celebration for them and to commemorate the burning of our paid in full mortgage on November 30, 2013 The whole church rejoiced!
The priests of the Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries have given of themselves selflessly and unceasingly to this parish. They shepherd us, they educate us, they edify us and they strengthen us. We are so thankful to God and to His Blessed Holy Mother for all of the blessings and guidance that we receive from all those priests who emigrated from Lebanon to become our leaders, shepherds, and even Ambassadors of
Faith and our Culture.
November 30th 2013 Mortgage Burning Dinner and Sunday Mass
About our bishop
CURRICULUM VITAE MostRev.AbdallahE.Zaidan,M.L.M.
July 10, 2013: Nominated Bishop of The Eparchy Of Our Lady Of Lebanon, U.S.A. By Pope Francis I. Birth:
Born in Kseibe, Lebanon in 1963.
Ordination: Joined the Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries and was ordained to the priesthood on July 20, 1986.
Education: License in Theology (1986), Philosophy (1987), Masters in Education (1990) Pursued Doctoral Studies in Education at Pepperdine University
Experience: Lebanon: July 1986-Sept. 1988: Assistant Rector of Minor Seminary of the Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries. Chaplain of Lay Apostolic Marianist Movement & Young Catholic Students Retreat Master for various ages and parishes. Oct. 1986-Sept. 1988: Religious Education teacher in Catholic schools. U.S.A.: Sept. 1988-Jan. 1990: Assistant Rector at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, Brooklyn, N.Y. while studying for Master’s Degree at St. John’s University. Jan. 1990-Aug. 1994: Pastor of St. George Maronite Catholic Church, San Antonio, Texas. Contributed to the establishment of Maronite missions in Dallas & Houston. Updated: March, 2012 Aug. 1992-Present: Regional Superior of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries in the United States. Sept. 1994-Present: Rector of Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon-St. Peter Cathedral, Los Angeles, California. College of Consultors. Member of the Presbyteral Council Protopresbyter for the Southwest and Northwest Regions of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles. 1996-Present: Chairman, Commission for Lebanon. March 1998-June 2001 Helped establish St. Jude Mission in San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County 2001- Present: Tele-Lumiere International Board member. Coordinator, Eparchial Marriage Tribunal. Board of Pastors, Personnel Board 2003-Present Member of Diocesan Sexual Abuse Board. 2004-Present: Maronite Voice, Diocesan Newsletter-Consultor Catholic Schools Assistance Fund -Treasurer Caritas-Treasurer 2009-Present: Project Roots-Director 2009-Present: Interdiocesan History Committee 2010-Present: Helping in the establishment of Sts. Peter and Paul Mission in San Fernando Valley-Los Angeles County 2011-Present Diocesan Stewardship Office-Supervisor 2011-Present Vicar for Clergy.
Other Activities 2003-2005: Participated as a delegate and a special expert in the Maronite Patriarchal Synod Oct. 2006: Participated as a member in the Encounter for the Eastern Churches in the USA in Chicago, ILL. Oct. 2010: Participated as a translator at the Synod for the Christians of the Middle East at the Vatican. Updated: March, 2012 Maronite Catholics in the Western half of the United States received a young, new shepherd on July 10, 2013, when Pope Francis I appointed the Rev. Abdallah Elias Zaidan, MLM, 50, as the new bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in St. Louis Missouri. The Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in St. Louis, Missouri, serves St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Lakewood, Colorado and more than 40 parishes and 44 priests, 36 permanent deacons and five seminarians in Washington, D.C. The pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, who turned 76 in June. Shaheen was named a bishop on Dec. 5, 2000, and ordained a bishop on Feb. 15, 2001. He oversaw the official move of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon from Los Angeles to St. Louis in July 2001. During his time, Bishop Shaheen oversaw the construction of the Maronite Heritage Institute and the Maronite Pastoral Center in St. Louis. When Bishop Shaheen became pastor of St. Raymond’s Maronite Church shortly after his ordination on May 2, 1964, he oversaw the growth of the church from a few faithful in a four-family apartment to a cathedral with hundreds of active parishioners. Bishop Shaheen was born in Danbury, Connecticut, and is the first Maronite priest and bishop from the United States. Bishop-elect Abdallah E. Zaidan, will celebrate his 27th year as a priest on July 20. He speaks English, Arabic, French, and Syriac and becomes the third bishop of Our Lady of Lebanon. By appointing Abdallah E. Zaidan, who is 50 years old, as the new bishop of Our Lady of Lebanon, Pope Francis is applying a new meaning to the ministry of bishops: “A server for the people, not a prince of the church.” The qualities that Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan will bring to the office of Bishop of an Eastern Rite Catholic Church in America, precisely the Maronite Church, are most needed in these dark days of Christian persecution. Pope Francis by approving on July 10, 2013, the election of Fr. Zaidan as Bishop by the Maronite Synod of Bishops led by his Eminence and Beatitude Patriarch Bechara Peter, Cardinal El Rai, manifests great trust the Vatican has in the universal role of the Maronite Church in the world, especially in this Year of Faith. Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan shares and incorporates qualities of leadership of which Pope Francis himself is a pioneer — namely the simplicity and love for the Church and for all people of good will, the qualities of compassion and understanding, the competence of making decisions for better changes that are more adequate with the true spirit of the Gospel. All these qualities manifested in the choice of Fr. Abdallah Elias Zaidan as Bishop, make him a viable part in the Faith and Evangelization project the pope is trying to accomplish by his example to ensure the profound reform in the existential life of the Church. According to many, Fr. Abdallah will be known for his simplicity and love, and as always a real priest. He is a priest who appreciates the ministry of priests, especially the young ones and the retired ones. Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan has a background that makes him one of the best people to be able to reconcile differences and ensure unity in parishes where there are obstacles to the ministry of the Church. He understands the difficulties of the laity, and he will implement better and more efficacious strategies to make sure that adequate priests will be assigned in adequate parishes where they can work in full cooperation with the people of God and with joy. These qualities that Rome has seen in Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan show the deep and serious commitment of the Universal Catholic Church toward assuring the profound unity in dignity and responsibility in the spiritual project of Faith and Apostolic mission of Good News the Eastern Churches possess in their heritage of Apostolic Christianity this also comes as the fruits of the hard labor planted by his predecessor and spiritual father Bishop Robert J. Shaheen. The bishop-elect is heavily involved in education and received his Master’s in Education in 1990 from St. John’s University. He also holds a license in Theology (1986) and Philosophy (1987). He pursued a doctorate degree in Education from Pepperdine University. Some of Bishop-Elect Zaidan’s accomplishments include helping to establish St. Jude Mission in San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County, and Sts. Peter and Paul Mission in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. He is also involved in Project Roots that helps people reconnect with their Christian spiritual roots in Lebanon and the Middle East. The bishop-elect is a great supporter of the American values of freedom and democracy, as he headed many committees working for peace, independence and human rights in the U.S. on behalf of Lebanon during the war time, then during the post-war struggles to ensure Lebanon’s freedom and independence between 2000 and 2005. The bishop-elect is also a man of the church, who led the re-writing of diocesan pastoral handbook, consisting of rules and regulations of operating the diocese. He made sure to apply all safety strategies and church decisions to ensure the safety of children. He also paid special attention to the pastoral involvement of the laity in assisting in the leadership of the church in his active role in forming two Maronite diocesan convocations in 2006 and 2013. Bishop-elect Zaidan played a major role in securing the identity of the Maronite Church in America as a Catholic Eastern Church that is one and the same with the Universal Catholic Church led by the pope. He played an instrumental role in connecting the Maronite Church in the U.S. with the Mother Church in Lebanon, namely with the Maronite Patriarchate, in Bkerke, In this regards, Bishop-Elect Most Rev. Abdallah Zaidan, was instrumental in gathering the files on Maronite identity, Maronite Pastoral Reform and role in the Middle East and worldwide, Maronite particular Canon Law, and Maronite ecclesiastical reform of clergy. He was the chief editor of the English Edition of the official text of the Synod of the Maronite Church in 2005, which was published in 2008.
As a faithful citizen of the United States of America, Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan played a major national role in California in keeping in touch and honoring the local public authorities taking care of all needs of people. Finally, with the experience Bishop-Elect Abdallah Elias Zaidan has gained in his involvement in the pains, suffering, disappointments, threats and hopes of the Christians in the Middle East, and through his involvement and vital support to the public Catholic Media working there namely Tele Lumiere- Nour Set, Charity TV and Radio, he will be instrumental in raising awareness to stop the ongoing violence in the various areas in the region from Egypt to Lebanon and especially to Syria and Iraq. Father Zaidan was an English translator during the Vatican-led Special Synod Assembly for the Churches in the Middle East led by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from October 10-24, 2010. During this time, Fr. Zaidan grasped and analyzed the calls to conviviality, freedom of religion, and the need for true actions of peace issued by the Catholic prelate’s interventions and the remarks of the observers from the Synagogues and Mosques. A large part of Fr. Zaidan’s future ministry in this area as bishop will be inspired by the post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation: “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente” signed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on Sept. 14,2012. The election and nomination of Fr. Zaidan as Bishop for the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, USA, is the fruit of the “Light of Faith,” (LUMEN FIDEI) first encyclical of Pope Francis that came out five days ago on July 5, 2013. The Pope greatly counts on the incorporation of faith as a needed light in today’s world. More so, the pope urges that true shepherds are needed in these days of darkness to overcome evil by showing the perfect Christian love that is the Love of Christ. He says in Chapter One, Paragraph 16. “The clearest proof of the reliability of Christ’s love is to be found in His dying for our sake. If laying down one’s life for one’s friends is the greatest proof of love (cf. Jn 15:13), Jesus offered His own life for all, even for His enemies, to transform their hearts. This explains why the evangelists could see the hour of Christ’s crucifixion as the culmination of the gaze of faith; in that hour the depth and breadth of God’s love shone forth. It was then that Saint John offered his solemn testimony, as together with the Mother of Jesus he gazed upon the pierced one (cf. Jn 19:37): “He who saw this has borne witness, so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and He knows that He tells the truth” (Jn 19:35).” We hope a long life to Bishop-Elect Most Reverend Abdallah Elias Zaidan, especially to be the one, who in his leadership will transform the cold hearts of the enemies into repentant hearts filled with love, to engage the priests with the new spirit of Evangelization and Faith, and to be a living expression of the universality of our Holy Church, through the special Ecclesiastical and Liturgical Heritage of the Maronite Antiochene Syriac Church.
Fr. Andre Y-Sebastian Mahanna, S.T.L. Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, USA. Office of Evangelization and Catechesis,
Director, St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church, Denver, Colorado Pastor. July 10, 2013
Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church under the watchful stewardship of Father Assaad ElBasha