Maronite Catholics maintain one of the most ancient traditions within the Catholic Church. They are originally from the southern edge of Asia Minor, and lived in relative peace for many centuries in the mountains of Lebanon. But civil wars forced many to flee. During this time of upheaval, the devotion to Our Lady of Lebanon resulted in a massive and important shrine being built in Harissa, Lebanon, just northeast of the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Maronites first came to America beginning in the late 1800s, settling wherever they could find jobs. During those years that often meant the steel cities of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham, Alabama, and Youngstown, Ohio. In the 1960s, a replica of the original shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon was built in rural northeast Ohio, just outside of Youngstown. That shrine, and its associated basilica, are a major site of pilgrimage every year for Maronites from across the U.S.
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