Attending the World Meeting of Families representing not only Australia but her Melkite Community is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for Monica Chahoud.
The mother-of-three said it gave her the chance to celebrate the two most important things in her life – faith and family – with thousands of Catholics from around the world.
As an added blessing, Monica and husband Kevin will also have the opportunity to attend a Mass given by the patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church, Youssef Absi, who will also be in Rome at the same time.
Appointment an honour
Selected to attend the meeting by Bishop Robert Rabbat, Monica said it was an incredible honour to fly the flag for the 50,000 followers of the faith in Australia and more than 3.5 million worldwide.
She said it was also an opportunity to raise the profile of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the incredible work they do helping those in need in collaboration with other Catholic agencies.
“I am quite nervous being the representative of Australian Melkites on the world stage, but also extremely honoured,” she smiled. “We really aren’t that well known in Australia so this gives us a great opportunity to let people know all about us and the incredible work our community does for others.
Raising a small community’s profile
“I am the acting president of the Melkite Charitable Foundation and every day I witness the fantastic work our community does. For me personally, my family and my faith mean everything to me, so to be given the opportunity to travel to Rome and meet with other Catholic families from around the world really is very, very special.”
Melkite Bishop Rabbat said he felt the World Meeting of Families was an important event for Catholics worldwide and that he felt blessed to be able to send a family to represent their Eparchy.
“The institution of the family, and the gift of children, are universal experiences,” he said. “The Catholic Church, as a universal community, is present in the multiplicity of human cultures. It is thus appropriate that the Church should reflect the broad diversity of communities in its representatives at the gathering.
“Kevin and Monica enjoy the experience of being able to view their Australian homeland from a Middle Eastern migrant standpoint.
“As so many established Australian families have a migrant connection, the value of having another view of the world has become increasingly appreciated. It’s from this extra, somewhat broader perspective that we hope our representatives will make a positive contribution to the conference. It is an extra blessing for our Eparchy to be invited to participate in the Conference and one more sign of the Holy Father’s paternal solicitude for the Universal Church over which he presides with love.”