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Two married men ordained

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Mrs Josephine Albayeh and Mrs Helen Maroon participate during the vesting of their husbands as priests, above. Photo: Snapix, courtesy Maronite Eparchy
Mrs Josephine Albayeh and Mrs Helen Maroon participate during the vesting of their husbands as priests, above. Photo: Snapix, courtesy Maronite Eparchy

New Maronite priests have wives and children – and their spouses participated in the ordination ceremony

Two married men were ordained to the priesthood for the Maronite Eparchy of Australia by Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral, Harris Park, on 1 October.

On a jubilant occasion, Bishop Tarabay expressed elation at having two new priests dedicating their lives to bridging heaven and earth and spreading the Gospel to a world sorely in need of it.

“As priests, you will have many more children than you had even this morning, for the children of the Church are now yours, and you have the tremendous privilege of administering to them all the sacraments, the spiritual nourishment which flows from God and the Church in an unending stream of grace,” he told the newly-ordained men.

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“Keep your gaze on our Lord and your feet will always be on the sure path. Follow Him and raise your eyes to Mary, the Star of the Sea as you walk.”

“Both completed a Bachelor of Theology at CIS in Strathfield and were clearly overjoyed to embrace their vocation.”

Father Joseph-Awtel Maroon’s wife, Helen, and Father Robert-Pio Albayeh’s wife, Josephine, along with their children, grandchildren, extended families and friends formed part of the 1500-strong congregation in attendance.

While Father Joseph-Awtel was born in Parramatta, Father Robert-Pio was born and raised in the northern Lebanese village of Kfardlakous.

Both completed a Bachelor of Theology at CIS in Strathfield and were clearly overjoyed to embrace their vocation.

Ordained to the diaconate in 2016, Father Robert-Pio established the Heaven on Earth outreach 14 years ago, dedicated to feeding the homeless in Parramatta each week – rain, hail or shine.

He will begin his priesthood based at St John Paul II Maronite Parish in Ryde.

Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay with newly-ordained Fathers Joseph-Awtel and Robert-Pio. Photo: Snapix, courtesy Maronite Eparchy
Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay with newly-ordained Fathers Joseph-Awtel and Robert-Pio. Photo: Snapix, courtesy Maronite Eparchy

With his parents also watching via live stream from Lebanon, Father Robert-Pio professed his vows and was ordained with his chosen motto, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

Father Joseph-Awtel, ordained deacon in 2019, has been serving St Rafqa Parish in Austral.

There, he has catered for the pastoral needs of more than 800 families. He helped establish the parish and an active community with thriving teen and youth groups and Arabic language schooling.

Choosing “Whoever serves me must follow me” (John 12:26) as the motto for his ordination, he will continue serving the Austral parish.

“Pray for our priests that they may be faithful to this mission of hope and so be the light that guides all people to the One who shows us … that God is truly with us.”

Bishop Tarabay’s plan of pastoral and missionary priorities reflects a key focus on vocations.

“Our Eparchy is a fertile soil for vocations to the priestly and the consecrated lives. We continue to encourage vocations in our parishes and our families and pray that the door of formation in wisdom and spiritual discipleship is open, that both may be in accordance with the heart of the Lord,” he said.

“Pray for our priests that they may be faithful to this mission of hope and so be the light that guides all people to the One who shows us in a definitive manner that God is truly with us.”

Hope in Jesus Christ will provide the antibodies we need to confront adversity, such as the ones presented over the past few years, he told those present.

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