by Diana L. Awad Scrocco
On Sunday, 14 April 2019, His Excellency A. Elias Zaidan visited St. Maron Church in Youngstown, Ohio, to celebrate Shaa'nineh (Hosanna Sunday) with the parish. On Saturday, the Antonine Sisters welcomed Bishop Zaidan to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, Ohio. Before Liturgy began on Sunday, the kindergarten and first-grade children of the Maronite Catholic Faith program at St. Maron Church welcomed approximately 350 parishioners with a celebratory song, which concluded with “Shaa'nineh Mubārake,” or “Blessed Palm Sunday.”
His Excellency presided over Liturgy, speaking in his homily about the true meaning of “Hosanna,” which many often associate with “Alleluia.” Instead, Bishop Zaidan explained, “Hosanna” actually means “Save us,” an appeal to Jesus Christ during this special celebration. During Liturgy, parishioners processed through the church grounds with their blessed palms and candles to commemorate Jesus' grand entry into Jerusalem on Hosanna Sunday.
After Liturgy, Bishop Zaidan joined approximately 300 parishioners in the church banquet hall for lunch, a raffle, and Lebanese music and dancing. Before departing from the Maronite community in Youngstown, His Excellency was given a bag of ka’ak, or Lebanese Easter bread, which several members of the church prepared and sold during the Shaa'nineh celebration.