East meets west: Eucharist unites

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Maronite Catholic Bishop of Sydney (left), Anthony Tarabay OLM, and Roman Catholic Auxilary Bishop of Sydney (right), Richard Umbers, unite to adore the Blessed Sacrament. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

The Sydney Maronite and Latin Rite Catholic communities united in faith on the evening of Thursday 17 October for the second annual ‘East Meets West Eucharistic Adoration’ at the Australian Catholic University’s Strathfield campus.

About 100 people attended the night which was a collaborative effort of the ACU Chaplaincy, the University of Sydney Chaplaincy, St Charbel’s Youth, and Sydney Catholic Youth. John Claude, chaplaincy staff member at ACU Strathfield, spoke to The Catholic Weekly about the importance of the event.

“ACU is a Catholic university and it is home to a lot of Maronites so that’s where the idea for this event came from,” he said.

“Saint John Paul II called the Church to breathe with ‘both lungs’ – East and West in unison.

“The night was an opportunity to bring both traditions together.”

Maronite Bishop Anthony Tarabay OLM and Bishop Richard Umbers presided over the event.

Maronite Bishop of Sydney, Anthony Tarabay OLM, holding the Blessed Sacrament in procession. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Eastern and Western hymns were sung together throughout the night with a Eucharistic procession around campus which then proceeded to Adoration in the Barron memorial chapel.

Traditional Lebanese cuisine was offered afterwards to all.

 “There was a very warm and social ambience during the night,”

John Claude said – who also spoke of the importance of the night to the youth groups.

“East Meets West Adoration is a very unique event because we invite a lot of external people to ACU. It also an opportunity for youth groups to meet up.”

Organisers look forward to next year’s event with the hopes of inviting neighbouring schools and parishes as well as representatives from other Eastern churches.

ACU students bonded through prayer and food. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli