Chorbishop at Valley shrine marks 40 years in priesthood
NORTH JACKSON — Guests came from all over the country recently to celebrate Chorbishop Anthony S. Spinosa’s 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood with a Divine Liturgy at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, where Spinosa has been the pastor for more than 20 years.
The celebratory Mass included the participation of several priests, monsignors and chorbishops, and the church choir performed while accompanied by a Pittsburgh orchestra. Spinosa said he was very humbled by the outpouring of kindness and congratulatory remarks for his many years of pastoral service.
The chorbishop said he was happy that his sister, Angela Ianno, his aunt, Flora Valante, and his niece, Donna Stone, arrived from Boston to celebrate the special weekend with him.
The reception immediately following the Mass took place at the Cedar Hill Reception Hall on the grounds of the 80-acre basilica.
Spinosa was born in Cambridge, Mass., where he attended elementary school, high school and Latin school. He then went on to the New Hampshire College of Business and Finance. Then, because of his love of music, he went on to study at the Boston Conservatory of Music.
Not long after his undergraduate degree, he received the calling to become a religious crusader for Christ. He entered the seminary to begin his religious studies at the Oblates of Mary Immaculate College in San Antonio, Texas, and continued his studies at the Washington Theological Union and the Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C.
After his years of religious studies, Spinosa was ordained a priest on May 11, 1983. His first responsibility was to serve as an assistant priest at St. Anthony of the Desert in Falls River, Mass., and then as an assistant at St. Maron Church in Detroit.
He was then elevated to a pastor at Jude’s Church in Murray, Utah, followed by Our Lady of Lebanon in Flint, Mich. In 2002, Spinosa became the rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson. A few years later, he was elevated to monsignor status, and he was ordained and consecrated Chorbishop on Aug. 13, 2016.
In the Eastern Maronite Catholic tradition, the number of parishioners began to grow. The bishops in each area had complete jurisdiction, but needed assistance within the growing religious communities. So the Pope decided to elevate monsignors and to ordain chorbishops to assist the bishops.
“What is interesting to note is that the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson has been given the special designation in the United States as the only Maronite Basilica of the Blessed Mother, outside of Lebanon. And each year, since 1965, thousands of people come for pilgrimages, whether they are of the Latin, Byzantine, Maronite, or other rites, to pray for their own personal needs,” Spinosa said. “And this year on Aug. 15 will be our 58th pilgrimage anniversary of our dedication to the Blessed Mother.”
Beside his daily responsibilities at the Basilica, Spinosa is serving as Protopresbyter of the Midwest Region, as well as the president of the College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, Personnel Board and Office of Admissions.
The shrine and gift shop are open every day except national holidays, and liturgy is celebrated every day at 5:30 p.m. except on Thursday. Sunday liturgy is at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.