Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, Bkerke Lebanon
Our Apostolic blessing upon His Lordship Ad Abikaram, Former Bishop of St Maroun’s Eparchy - Sydney, and the Reverend Priests, Religious Monks and Sisters, and all beloved parishioners.
You welcome today the new Bishop of the Eparchy, His Lordship Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. You know him and he knows you. This is the foundational characteristic that Jesus said of himself, the perfect Good Shepherd, and made it the characteristic for all Bishops of the Church.
Your new Bishop worked in the field of ministry in Australia in two stages. Firstly, for the duration of three years as the Principal of Saint Charbel’s College and spiritual director of the youth of the parish. Secondly, as Rector of the Monastery and parish of St Charbel, which he held since 2007. He served the parish through these two ministries along with his capacity as Pastoral Coordinator for the Eparchy, as a lecturer in adult faith formation and he was responsible for the spiritual formation of the new priests in the Eparchy. All these ministries were under the guidance and direction of His Lordship Ad Abikaram, former Bishop of the Eparchy, who recognised and valued the talents of Fr Antoine, including his close attachment to the Church and zeal for the parish, and so laid upon him these many responsibilities. His Lebanese Maronite Order also acknowledged his virtues, his wise administrative abilities, and abundant generosity, by trusting him with many responsibilities.
We express our deep gratitude to our dear brother His Lordship Ad Abikaram for his effort and commitment in the service of the Eparchy throughout eleven years, and especially for the numerous activities and initiatives he undertook to establish a diocesan structure and to open new horizons. He gave all this for to the Eparchy, for the priests, sisters, monks and all parishioners. He established new distinctive directions to meet the challenges of the times.
His Lordship Antoine Charbel Tarabay has arrived at an appropriate time, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to journey with you in this Eparchy and to realise its hopes, according to the plan set out by His Holiness Pope Francis in his first Mass after his election, for the building up of the Church, through the Mystery of the crucified Christ, risen from the dead. On these three foundations, your new Bishop will build, with your assistance, his pastoral ministry at the Head of the Eparchy. In regards to his vision for the Eparchy and for the youth who are the hope and future, we desire that you all will assist him with generosity and sincerity, for the good of the Eparchy and its progress and for the glory of God and salvation of souls.
We express our delight in sharing with you this occasion of the installation, and we send to you His Lordship Mounir Kheirallah, Bishop of Batroun, to be present on our behalf, at the Handing over Mass and to write a report of the events and send us a copy. We appoint him with the responsibility to convey the Patriarch’s blessing to the ecclesiastical and civic leaders, and to all those present, and to congratulate you on your new Bishop.
We ask God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and Saint Maroun, to reward His Lordship Ad Abikaram, for his generous service over many long years, with long life and good health, and success in whatever he undertakes in the field of the Church. And to bless the service of our brother, His Lordship Antoine Charbel, at the head of this dear Eparchy, and to pour upon you all heavenly blessings and graces, with my love and prayers and apostolic blessing.
From the See of Bkerke, 28th May 2013
+ Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai
Patriarch of Antioch and the East