St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church opens in Michigan

Named after a saint known for his miracles around the world,  St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church announced its opening of a 29,000-square-foot church in Clinton Township, Michigan.

The church is home to one of the largest Maronite communities in the United States. It was formerly located in Warren, but moved to Clinton Township as part of a major expansion and construction project.

St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church is located at 43888 Hayes Road in Clinton Township, Michigan. (Lebanese Examiner)
St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church is located at 43888 Hayes Road in Clinton Township, Michigan. (Lebanese Examiner)

“We are delighted to welcome our parishioners to their new home,” said Chorbishop Alfred Badawi, pastor of St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church. “This beautiful new church helps accommodate our growing parish, which is a testament to the vibrancy of the Maronite Catholic faith in Michigan.”

The church features architectural influences from among the world’s most historic churches in Lebanon, where St. Sharbel was born and lived as a solitary hermit. St. Sharbel was beatified Dec. 5, 1965, and canonized Oct. 9, 1977.

Thousands of tourists from around the world visit St. Sharbel in Annaya, Lebanon annually. (Lebanese Examiner)
Thousands of tourists from around the world visit St. Sharbel in Annaya, Lebanon annually. (Lebanese Examiner)

“It is humbling to build an honor for St. Sharbel, who has performed dozens of miracles right here in metro Detroit, and who inspires devotion among Christians of all denominations, “Chorbishop Badawi added. “This move to Clinton Township secures the foundation of our future and safeguards the mission of the Maronite community, allowing us to preserve the treasures of our traditional values and culture for decades to come.”

For more than three decades, St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church has served a diverse population of parishioners in southeastern Michigan, including a large population who immigrated to Detroit from Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.

Detroit Tigers to host Arab American Night at Comerica Park

The Detroit Tigers baseball team is hosting an Arab American Night Sept. 22 at Comerica Park during a Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals game.

According to its website, the Tigers are offering a package that supports an Arab American nonprofit based in Dearborn.

The package includes:

  • One ticket to the Sept. 22 game
  • A Saad Meats Sharifa Halal Knockwurst voucher
  • Donation to Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities
The nonprofit Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities is located in Dearborn. (File photo/Lebanese Examiner)
The nonprofit Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities is located in Dearborn. (File photo/Lebanese Examiner)

Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, formerly known as the Lebanese American Heritage Club, is a human services nonprofit that works to support educational, social and economic projects in southeast Michigan.

The Sept. 22 game starts at 6:10pm. Tickets start at $25.

To learn more about Arab American Night, or to purchase tickets, click here.

Massari to perform at American Lebanese Cultural Festival in California

Lebanese-Canadian pop singer Massari is set to perform at the American Lebanese Cultural Festival this weekend in a Los Angeles suburb.

The annual festival is hosted by Our Lady of Mount Lebanon Church in Arcadia, California. The festival is in its 16th year.

Massari is best known for combining Arabic beats with western culture. He has won many awards, including Best International Arabian Artist and Dance Artist of the Year.

He has worked with some big names around the world, including French Montana, Mohammed Assaf and former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

RELATED: Lebanese man plants cedar tree in town of Lebanon, Tennessee

The festival starts on Aug. 25 at noon until midnight PST, and will feature authentic Lebanese food, dabke, backgammon and tarneed tournaments.

The festival will take place on August 25th and will feature musical performances by Massari and Fidel Fayad (Facebook screen grab)
The festival will take place on August 25th and will feature musical performances by Massari and Fidel Fayad (Facebook screen grab)

Admission to the festival is free, but parking is $10.

To find out more information and RSVP to the event, visit their Facebook event page here.

Maronite church in Virginia to hold large Lebanese food festival

Members of a Maronite Catholic community in Virginia are planning a large Lebanese food festival from May 18 to May 20 on church grounds.

St. Anthony Maronite Church in Glen Allen, Virginia will serve up a smorgasbord of Lebanese dishes — everything from spinach and cheese pies to shawarma sandwiches.

lebanese food festival va 2

The three-day festival is a glimpse into Lebanese food, dessert and culture for the Virginia town and its nearby communities.

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For the first time this year, festival organizers invited members of the St. Rafqa Choir from Lebanon to perform folk and religious music on Friday and Saturday night.

Admission is free, but food prices range from $2 to $9. The festival is fundraising opportunity for the church.

For a full list of menu items, click here. For more information about the festival, click here.

Lebanese Americans vote in parliamentary elections

Lebanese Americans began voting Sunday in the first parliamentary elections held by Lebanon in nine years. The historic occasion marks the first time Lebanese citizens are allowed to vote abroad.

Sunday’s vote in 33 countries comes two days after Lebanese expatriates voted in six Arab countries.

According to the state-run Lebanese National News Agency, 82,970 Lebanese expatriates are registered to vote around the world. Australia has the largest number of registered voters with 11,826.

Canada has 11,438, followed by the United States with about 10,000, the news agency added.

lebanese americans vote in parliamentary elections in detroit michigan 4

Metro Detroit, home to one of the largest populations of Lebanese Americans in the U.S., established three polling locations in Michigan for expatriates to vote. Registration was required in advance, officials said.

The Detroit Consulate, which handles consular duties for 13 other states, also established one polling location in Ohio, one location in Minnesota and one in Illinois.

lebanese americans vote in parliamentary elections in detroit michigan 2

Voting inside Lebanon will be held next Sunday.

According to the Consulate, Lebanese citizens eligible to vote need to bring a Lebanese ID, a valid Lebanese passport or a recently renewed or issued temporary passport.

In South America, thousands of Lebanese citizens are also expected to cast their ballots Sunday. Leila Smidi, a mother of four living in Brazil, said she feels closer to her native land after voting.

“Today’s voting is very important because for the first time we will have a voice in Lebanese affairs,” Smidi, who has lived in Brazil for 11 years, told the Associated Press.

Lebanon’s current legislature has extended its own term several times, citing security threats in Syria.

WATCH: How Lebanese Expatriates Vote:

Man goes on racist rant against Arab Uber driver

NEW YORK – A man in Queens, New York was caught on camera howling racial slurs at an Arab American Uber driver last Thursday.

In a Facebook video shared by Karim Metwaly, an unidentified man driving a white SUV is heard yelling obscenities to the driver.

“You’re an Arab; you’re a f****** loser,” the man said.

At one point, the driver tells the Uber driver he will be deported under Trump’s leadership.

“Trump is president a**hole, so you can kiss your f****** visa goodbye scumbag,” he said. “They’ll deport you soon. Don’t worry, you  f****** terrorist.”

The video has since gone viral with more than 5.3 million views. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, reports of intimidation and harassment have spiked since Election Day.

WATCH the incident below (Warning: profanities):

Lebanese American journalist recognized as ‘Trailblazer’

DETROIT – Former CBS News correspondent Aleen Sirgany was recognized Saturday as a ‘Lebanese American Trailblazer’ for her career in journalism and service to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The gala was held in Detroit by the Lebanese American Club of Michigan (LACOM), a non-profit organization which aims to preserve Lebanese culture in the state.

“I’m honored by this recognition,” Sirgany said. “Lebanon is always in our hearts, in our lives, in our family.”

The former journalist now serves as a senior advisor to the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, the fundraising wing for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

As a Washington-based CBS correspondent, Sirgany covered dozens of global headlines, including the White House, the attacks on September 11 and Hurricane Katrina.

She was born in Beirut, and spent the first five months of her life in a Lebanese orphanage.

While covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2005, Sirgany wanted to visit Lebanon and see the orphanage where she was born.

“I thought, there is no way I’m going to be so close to Lebanon and not go see my family,” she said. “I did not know I could not have my passport stamped.”

It took Sirgany 10 years to make the trip.

“I fell in love with Lebanon,” she added. “It was so emotional, that it was almost surreal.”

WATCH: Aleen Sirgany Tribute Video

St. Sharbel relics make rounds through Metro Detroit

(DETROIT) — The historic relics of Saint Sharbel made rounds through Metro Detroit this month, appearing in three Maronite parishes for believers to see and pray over.

More than 2,000 people visited the relics on Saturday at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Hundreds of Chaldeans packed an evening mass presided over by Bishop Francis Kalabat of the Chaldean diocese.

“We’re very proud and we’re happy that it gets all the community together with the Lebanese people,” Lamia Sitto, a Chaldean parishioner from St George Chaldean Catholic Church, said.

Hundreds of people stood in line to touch and pray over the relics, which are visiting the U.S. from Lebanon.

“The Chaldean people have been shopping, praying and coming through for the last two days all day long,” St. Sharbel parishioner Char Fortuna said. “We kind of expected a huge crowd tonight.”

WATCH St. Sharbel Relics Visit Detroit:

LAHC hosts singer Rouwaida Attieh; honors legendary Sabah

(DETROIT) — Syrian singer Rouwaida Attieh on Tuesday honored Lebanese musical legend Sabah during a tribute concert in Dearborn, Michigan, the home of the largest Arab American population in the United States.

The Lebanese American Heritage Club hosted the international songstress for a concert titled, “Sabah, The Musical Dream.”

Attieh traveled to Paris last March to perform at the famous Le Trianon Theater, where she presented a collection of Sabah’s most popular songs.

Sabah was once quoted at the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon saying she considered Attieh the best person to have performed her songs.

Attieh was presented with a special tribute from State Senator David Knezek and recognition awards from Dearborn City Council President Susan Dabaja and Council Member Mike Sarieni.

LAHC Executive Director Wassim Mahfouz also thanked Attieh for headlining the concert.

Attieh was the first runner-up on the first season of Super Star, the pan-Arab import of “Pop Idol,” where she quickly rose to fame. She has worked with several Arab musical giants, including Lebanese composer Imad Shamseddine and Lebanese legend Wadih El Safi, among others.

Sabah, one of the leading Arab performers of her generation, died at the age of 87 last November. She was said to recorded over 3,500 songs in her lifetime.

VIDEO: Singer Rouwaida Attieh pays tribute to the Lebanese musical legend Sabah at a concert hosted by the Lebanese American Heritage Club in Dearborn, Michigan.

Posted by Lebanese Examiner on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

LAU lecture explores question: Was Jesus a Phoenician?

(NEW YORK) — The Lebanese American University held a lecture Wednesday exploring evidence compiled by author Karim El Koussa, which suggests Jesus may be a Phoenician, according to his private studies.

The university hosted the Lebanese author at the LAU New York Academic Center, where university officials frequently host public forums and hold Arabic language courses, among others.

El Koussa said 40 people attended the lecture, which included a book signing for his publication “Jesus the Phoenician.” He admits the results of his studies often spark controversy because they contradict conventional beliefs that Jesus was a Jew.

“Some people are used to the traditional way of thinking that was imposed on them throughout their life and are definitely afraid to open their minds to controversial ideas in matter of religion and history,” El Koussa said, referring to points discussed in his book. “They usually react in a very fierce way as if they are threatened, although many of the reference I am using are coming from the New Testament itself.”

El Koussa, who has a degree in communications from NDU, said he spent years researching the origins of Jesus. He said he was inspired by a mentor, Father Youssef Yammine, the author of the Arabic book, “Christ was Born in Lebanon.”

“Many others understand and accept the logic behind the material used in the lecture and find it truly consistent and holding,” he said.

Lebanese author Karim El Koussa signs a copy of his book, "Jesus the Phoenician" at the Lebanese American University New York Academic Center on Sept. 30, 2015. (Photo via Lebanese American University Communications Office)
Lebanese author Karim El Koussa signs a copy of his book, “Jesus the Phoenician” at the Lebanese American University New York Academic Center on Sept. 30, 2015. (Photo via Lebanese American University Communications Office)

The Phoenicians were ancient tradesmen largely credited with creating the first widely used alphabet. Historians believe the Phoenicians were centered on the coastline of modern Lebanon, with some ports reaching the Western Mediterranean.

Some Lebanese historians believe the Lebanese speak a distinct language and have their own culture, separate from that of the surrounding Middle Eastern countries.

El Koussa said he hopes Lebanese nationals consider researching the origins of Jesus, especially readings that point to geographical evidence along the Lebanese coastline.

“Lebanon is one of the oldest countries in the world and is full of history, going back to more than 7,000 years BC,” he said. “Lebanese should be proud of their cultural heritage and should not at all forget that their ancestors played an important role—if not the most important one—in the formation of the human civilization.”

For more information about El-Koussa and his books, visit el-koussa.com.