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Melto D’Moronoyo: Patriarch’s Aussie visit will unite Maronite Eparchy

Vanessa Boumelhem
Vanessa Boumelhem
Vanessa Boumelhem is a former youth leader at St Raymond’s Maronite Parish and is in the final stages of a Communications (Writing and Publishing) degree.
His Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, has arrived in Australia to celebrate the Maronite Eparchy’s golden jubilee. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
His Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, has arrived in Australia to celebrate the Maronite Eparchy’s golden jubilee. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

While millions of young people gathered around the pope in the streets of Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day, a similar gathering took place in the streets of Lebanon, where thousands of Catholic youth unable to be in Portugal came together for their own celebrations.

The event was organised by 300 volunteers from all different Catholic rites under the youth committee of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon.

Under the World Youth Day theme, “Mary arose and went with haste,” Lebanese Catholic youth gathered for prayer, Eucharistic Adoration and catechesis, bringing forth a strong message of hope and faith in times of hardship and adversity.

Though crisis-stricken and marred by worsening economic conditions, the youth were able to renew their hope and strengthen their faith, sending a message to Lebanese Catholics across the world.

This week, the Australian Maronite Catholic community welcomed our Patriarch, His Beatitude and Eminence, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, to Australia primarily to celebrate the Golden Jubilee Mass.

He will also preside over the Sixth Congress of Maronite Bishops of Eparchies outside the Patriarchal Territory and General Superiors of Maronite Religious Orders.

As the eparchy celebrates its golden jubilee, we recognise that this milestone has come as a result of the unwavering strength of the Lebanese Maronites, who have faced countless challenges in their past.

Our eparchy was established after 100 years of Maronite presence in Australia, which grew prominent enough to support the need for Maronite priests and churches.

While the first Maronite Parish in Australia was established in 1897, the eparchy was not officially established until 1973.

The Maronite community grew slowly in the early 1900s, but by the mid-1900s, emigration started again and the community began to grow rapidly, organising itself into village and family associations while assimilating into wider society.

With this, the need for a life which better preserved and promoted Maronite Values and customs grew, eventually leading to the formation of the strong Maronite community in Australia today.

The community now has the unique opportunity to celebrate its Jubilee with the patriarch, who is coming from Lebanon carrying that much-needed message of hope, encouraging our communities to unite in Christ the way the Catholic youth in Lebanon did.

The Maronite community across the globe is united by its Maronite identity, which is uniquely rooted in Lebanon and transcends boundaries and distance.

The patriarch’s visit will strengthen the connection of Australia’s Maronites with Maronites worldwide, encouraging us to persevere in our unique identity and persevere as people of faith, inspired by the Catholic youth in Lebanon.

The patriarch’s visit during the golden jubilee is an opportunity for Australia’s Maronites to reawaken their faith and focus on reaffirming the strong Maronite Catholic values that have kept our community alive and strong for centuries in Lebanon and decades in Australia.

Unity among Maronites is rooted in faith, expressed through the Divine Liturgy. At the Golden Jubilee Mass on 24 September at Ken Rosewall Arena, up to 10,000 Maronites will gather for the highest and most powerful form of prayer.

They will unite to celebrate the past of the eparchy with a bright outlook towards its future, driven by the same strong spirituality that has been the life-force of Catholics for centuries: Christ in us.

The visit of our patriarch will motivate Australia’s Maronites to unite and reflect on the journey we and our predecessors have taken to reach this momentous milestone. It will serve as a reminder of our past and our origins, while motivating us to look towards a future and pray that it will be full of the same faith, hope and love that have built our eparchy into what it is today.

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