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.

  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.
original St. Elias church
Blessing and Breaking Ground 1949 St. Elias church Construction St. Elias Construction
© 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.

 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.
original St. Elias church