Rev Bishop Robert J Shaheen

Most Rev Bishop Robert J Shaheen, 80,  born June 3, 1937., Bishop Emeritus of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, St Louis, Missouri, died on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 in St Louis, Missouri

Bishop Shaheen was born in Danbury, CT, to Albert and Aileen (Abdo) Shaheen He attended St Peter School and graduated from Danbury High School with the Class of 1955

He entered St Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT in 1955 and in 1958 transferred to St Basil Seminary in Methuen, Massachusetts, while attending classes at St Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire Upon the founding of the Maronite Seminary at Washington, DC, he became a seminarian at the Maronite Seminary

Bishop Shaheen was ordained a subdeacon on October 2, 1962 and deacon on June 7, 1963 He was ordained to the priesthood by the late Bishop Francis M Zayek on May 2, 1964, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC on the occasion of the first Maronite Convention in the United States

Shortly after his ordination, Bishop Shaheen was named (1964-1965) an Associate of St Anthony Church of Danbury; Administrator (1965-1966) St Anthony Church, Springfield, Massachusetts where he purchased a six acre plot for a new Church He returned to St Anthony, Danbury, (1966-1967) as Administrator and subsequently as Administrator, St Raymond Church (1967-1967) in St Louis, MO and Pastor (1967-2000)

St Raymond’s had been without a resident priest for over twenty years Under his leadership, St Raymond’s went from just a few faithful parishioners using a four-family apartment to a cathedral with hundreds of active families

There Fr Shaheen organized and celebrated Maronite liturgies on a regular basis He also developed newsletters, bulletins, and fliers and conducted a census to identify Maronites in the greater St Louis area

Introducing spiritual and cultural programs, religious education classes, he hosted a National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) Convention in 1970

Kicking off a fund drive for a new church in 1971, Fr Shaheen and his faithful dedicated a new church in November 1975, a new rectory in February 1977, and dedicated a new parish center, “The Cedars”, in November 1979

On March 31, 1986, Fr Shaheen was ordained a Chorbishop by Archbishop Zayek Fr Shaheen purchased additional property and buildings for future development as a Maronite retirement center and cultural center in 1991, and again hosted the National Apostolate of Maronites Convention in 1995

On December 5, 2000 Bishop Shaheen was appointed second Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon by Pope John Paul II He was ordained and enthroned as second Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in St Louis, MO at the Basilica of St Louis by His Eminence, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir

Bishop Shaheen was the first Maronite priest or bishop born in the United States

Pope Francis accepted his age-related resignation on July 10, 2013

Bishop Shaheen is survived by two brothers, William Shaheen and his wife Donna and John Shaheen and his wife Nancy; three nephews, David and his wife Theresa, Albert and Michael, a niece, Mary Elizabeth Kapp and her husband James, two grandnieces Aliya and Arya, an aunt Mary Abdo; an uncle John Rishdan, many cousins and friends

In addition to his parents, Bishop Shaheen was predeceased by a brother, Richard Shaheen

 A Concelebrated Liturgy of Christian Burial will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 10 am in St Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, 17 Granville Ave, Danbury with the Most Rev Bishop A Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon and the Most Rev Bishop Gregory J Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of St Maron officiating Interment will follow in St Peter Cemetery, Danbury.  The recitation of the Rosary will precede the Liturgy on Monday at 9:15 am The family will receive friends in St Anthony Maronite Church, Danbury on Sunday, August 20, 2017 during the hours of 2 pm to 9 pm with the following services:  2 pm Opening Prayer and Viewing; 3 pm Liturgy; 4 pm Viewing; 5 pm Rosary; 5:30 pm Viewing; 7 pm Evening Prayer and Service of Incense and 9 pm Closing Prayer

Memorial contributions in Bishop Shaheen’s memory may be made to St Anthony Maronite Church or to the Order of St Sharbel

“I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who counted me trustworthy in making me his minister”

“Be Not Afraid”

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