In June of 1960, the Maronite priests of America met with the Archbishop in
Washington It was there that the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon was first publicly
proposed. However, it did not happen. On the way home, Father Peter Eid suggested the Maronites in the Youngstown and surrounding areas would buy a large piece of land and build a large shrine. One day, driving along Lipkey Road, (probably on his way to Cedar lake), Father Peter noticed a sign, "Property for Sale 80 Acres" "That's it", he said. He was impressed by the long frontage, the evergreens of the State Forest, the Meander Reservoir (close to the property and the turnpike gate and nearby Holiday Inn.
The owner of this property told Father Eid that she "will never sell to a Catholic." He tried to explain that a house of prayer would be much better than a junkyard or a supermarket, but to no avail. After three visits, Father Eid told her, "This is my last visit. But, I am going to call my friends and we will pray for nine days so that He will tell you to sell us the land to build a Sanctuary for His Mother, Mary." Father Peter then called upon his brother, Father Maroun Eid, Father Maroun Abi Nader and his brother Father Elias Abi Nader to pray a novena for this very intention. Surprisingly, before the nine days were over, the lady owning the land, called Father Eid and declared, "Priest, come and take the land. Your Lady is bothering me in my sleep!" In 1961, Father Eid paid $3,000 for a six-month option on the N. Lipkey Road property.
In 1961 Msgr. Peter Eid purchased eighty acres of land in his name in North
Jackson for the intent of building a Shrine in honor of Our Lady of Lebanon. The entire Shrine project was initiated in 1963 when it was proposed to the St Maron Holy Name Society.
With the cooperation of the Maronite parishes in Akron, Ohio and New Castle,
PA the Youngstown. Ohio society became the leader for the program. The Shrine project received the approval of Pope John XXIII and Bishop Emmet M. Walsh, Bishop of Youngstown, and the association was incorporated as a non-profit organization of Ohio.
Msgr. Peter Eid had a will drawn up which stated that in case of his death before
his dream of a National Shrine could be recognized, the land would revert to the
Youngstown Diocese who could sell it as they would but that all the money from that sale would go to the Antiochean Patriarch in Lebanon. It is through the grace of God and His Mother that this precaution never had to be taken, as Msgr. Peter did live the see that his and his brother Maroun's dream became a reality.
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