Maronites look to the future

Bishop Antoine Charbel-Tarabay delivers his homily on the feast of St Maroun at St Maroun’s Cathedral in Redfern. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The Maronite Church in Australia is about to enter a new phase of building up and strengthening its tradition in this country, Bishop Antoine Charbel-Tarabay announced on the feast of their patron, St Maroun.

St Maroun’s Cathedral in Redfern—the first Maronite Catholic parish in Australia—overflowed on 9 February for the Mass in honour the great fifth-century saint.

Bishop Tarabay processes an icon of St Maroun through the church. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

During his homily, Bishop Tarabay—the Maronite Bishop of Australia—announced the soon-to-be implemented recommendations that had emerged from the first Maronite Diocesan Assembly which began two years ago.

The recommendations included enhancing evangelisation and discipleship in parish life, opening a family office in the diocese, further developing social and human services in the parishes and at the diocesan level, raising awareness of Maronite identity, the establishment of a youth office, a review to further enhance accountability and transparency, and measures to preserve Maronite liturgy and spirituality.

St Maroun’s Cathedral was full for the Mass in honour of of the patron of the Maronite Catholic Church, St Maroun. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

He said the aim of implementing the recommendations was to ensure “the Church is our spiritual home, past, present and future.”

A new Maronite app would also soon be available, he added, and a Maronite heritage centre at St Maroun’s in Redfern would be re-opened, with a focus on Maronite liturgy, sacred art and spirituality.

Bishop Tarabay is the Maronite bishop for the whole of Australia. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

He said Maronites Catholics in Australia continue to live the spirituality of St Maroun, which seeks to “to sanctify the soul and the body”.

“The Maronite Church was born from the faith and monastic spirituality of St Maroun who was a monk, a priest and a hermit,” Bishop Tarabay said.

A traditional Lebanese feast followed the Mass. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“It still forms the cornerstone of our Maronite Church and makes the Maronites ready at any time to give up their lives in defence of the true faith in Jesus Christ.”

“We are willing to make the supreme sacrifice for God and for the king of heaven because as the Lord said in tonight’s Gospel, unless a gain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain. But if it dies it bears much fruit.”