Maronites elect patriarch expected to unite Catholics

March 28, 2011
Patriarch Rai

Patriarch Rai

Church bells rang, horns blasted and firecrackers echoed throughout Lebanon as it was announced that Bishop Bechara Rai of Jbeil, Lebanon, had been elected the new patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.

Patriarch Rai, 71, known for his courage to speak the truth, is seen as someone who can unite Maronite Catholics, who have been divided among political party lines.

He replaces Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, 90, who retired because of age.