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.