NORTH JACKSON, Ohio — The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson celebrated a major milestone Saturday.
It was consecrated as a Minor Catholic Basilica, becoming only the second Maronite Catholic Basilica in the world. Before it was even considered for this distinction, church officials had to present a long list of spiritual, artistic, and historical criteria to the Vatican.
This celebration is part of the shrine’s 50th anniversary year, and Pastor Msgr. Anthony Spinosa said it’s an exciting time for the congregation.
“We just hope that people come to visit us. It’s a nice place. It’s a beautiful place. It’s a very prayerful spiritual place and a lot of people in the Mahoning Valley don’t even know we’re here,” Spinosa said.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon features a 5-foot high tower with a spiral stairway leading to a 16-foot statue of the Virgin Mary. It has served as a focal point for pilgrimages each year since its dedication.