40th Anniversary Celebrations at St. Mary Basilica + Livonia, MI
On Oct. 12-14th, 2012, the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan celebrated a historic weekend commemorating 40 years of dedicated ministry and service to the greater southeastern Michigan area. The theme for this Ruby Jubilee celebration was “Dare to Dream.” The weekend was filled with moments of joy, reflection, and fellowship, as the community remembered the milestones that had been reached throughout the church’s history. However, it was also a time dedicated to the anticipation of what the future holds for the parish, as we heard from the youth, regarding their hopes and dreams for what lies ahead for this blessed community. Presiding over the event was His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, as well as His Grace Bishop Anthony (Michaels), Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest.
The anniversary celebrations began on Friday night with a ceremony honoring the hundreds of volunteers who have been a part of the Basilica of St. Mary for the past five years. On Saturday evening, a grand banquet event was held at the St. Mary Cultural Center, where over 500 people from throughout the United States gathered together to honor the Very Reverend Fr. George Shalhoub and his Khourieh Nouhad, and to recognize their many accomplishments over the past 40 years. Speakers at the event included individuals who have played an integral part in the church’s history, from some of the original founding members to current leaders and inductee honorary founders. They all spoke on the impact that the church has had in their lives and shared personal stories that touched the hearts of all who were present. At the ceremony, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presented our beloved Fr. George with the Antonian Gold Medal, the highest award given out by the Archdiocese for years of ministry and service. Fr. George was also given a beautiful engraved plaque which will be proudly displayed near the church’s entrance.
The celebration concluded on Sunday, October 14th. The day began with Divine Liturgy, where our own Deacon Issa Rizkallah was elevated to the holy rank of Archdeacon by His Eminence. This honor has only been bestowed on four others in our Archdiocese. Following church, the parishioners were invited to a luncheon at the cultural center to celebrate and give honor to the youth of our parish. Several members of the youth and young adults were invited to speak about how the Basilica of St. Mary has impacted their lives and about their goals for the future of the parish. Although the celebration only lasted for three days, the memories, the love, and the fellowship from the weekend will certainly last a lifetime.