Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Saint's Relics Draw Visitors for Two Days

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Saint's Relics Draw Visitors for Two Days

Article excerpt

Over a 48-hour period this week, hundreds of people knelt before an elaborately carved, shoebox-size wooden reliquary on an altar at Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church.

The local Lebanese Catholic community publicly displayed the relics of St. Sharbel, one of its most venerated saints. The relics have thousands of reported medical miracles attributed to them.

Relics are a piece of the body that Catholics, Orthodox and other Christians venerate as being holy and sacred. Typically they are bone fragments, as in the case of the St. Sharbel relics.

The Scott church hosted the relics from 10 a.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Friday. Divine Liturgy was celebrated twice daily followed by a procession around the parish property and anointings. At all other times, Eucharistic Adoration was held for the faithful to come pray and venerate the relics.

Maronites are one of 23 rites within the Catholic Church, each with its own distinct liturgical, spiritual and theological traditions, as well as clergy. Maronites claim St. Maron as their patron and mainly comprise those of Lebanese descent. There are approximately 75,000 Maronite Catholics in the United States.

St. Sharbel was born in 1828 in a mountain village in Lebanon to a poor family. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1859 and devoted his life to prayer while living as a hermit. He was widely considered a living saint during the later years of his life. Numerous miracles are attributed to St. Sharbel during his lifetime and continued after his death on Christmas Eve 1898 at the age of 70.

The Rev. Rodolph Wakim, pastor of Our Lady of Victory, grew up admiring and emulating St. Sharbel. "St. Sharbel is the saint of Lebanon .the big saint. All of us growing up looked up to him. We heard of his stories, because the amount of miracles that took place in his name . [is] in the thousands and thousands."

Father Wakim said the miraculous medical cures cut across faith traditions, race and ethnic origin. …

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