Bishop A. Elias Zaidan

“On July 10, 2013, the Feast of the Blessed Massabki Brothers in our Maronite Liturgical calendar, I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis to succeed His Excellency Robert Shaheen as the third bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.

I am humbled by this appointment and by the trust of His Holiness. This appointment came following the recommendation of the Synod of our Maronite Bishops presided by His Beatitude and Eminence Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.

Therefore, I want to express the following words in my message today:

1. A word of thanks to the Almighty God, who has called me to the order of the priesthood years back and now to the fullness of the priesthood as bishop.

My gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis, who is stressing the need for bishops to be true pastors, compassionate and caring like the Divine Master.

My gratitude to His Eminence Cardinal Rai, our Patriarch and to the Synod of Bishops, who have chosen me for this task. My gratitude to His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect and to the staff at the Congregation of the Eastern Churches. My thanks to my brother priests, my collaborators and to the laity at large.

Nevertheless, my deep gratitude goes to Sayedna, His Excellency Robert Shaheen, who shepherded our Eparchy for the last 12 and a half years. During that time, I have learned a lot from him, and I have witnessed his love and care for the flock entrusted to him. I appreciate your love for me and trust in me, Sayedna. I want to thank the Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries, who formed me all of these years.

2. A word of promise to all, I will strive to the best of my abilities to be the good shepherd following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd. I promise to lay myself down at the service of the Church and even place my human weakness into His hands to remind myself of the need to be humble.

I promise to work hard, to reach out to all, to strengthen the weak and encourage the faithful, to move forward the message of the New Evangelization, the message of love that is

much needed in today’s world. I promise to strive to do God’s will in my life. “Thy will be done” will be my motto in my Episcopal ministry.

3. A word of appeal. I would first like to ask for your prayers for me. I am overwhelmed these days with the outpouring of love from the clergy and laity. Pray to God to keep me focused on the ministry and on the people. Pray for me that I may hold strong against all errors and scandals. Pray for me that I may remain faithful every step of the way.

I would also like to ask for your collaboration with me so that we can work together to showcase the beauty of our Maronite Church, to keep it a haven to all who search for God and to make it a sanctuary of holiness.

As I start my Episcopal ministry, I will rely on the grace of our Loving God, on the intercession of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Lebanon, the Patroness of our diocese, and the intercession of our Maronite Saints: Maron, John Maron, Rafka, Sharbel, Nemetallah, the Blessed Massabki brothers, the Blessed Estephan Nehme and the multitude of all the righteous and just.

May God lead my path every step of the way. Thanks and God Bless.”

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