The Maronite community rejoiced in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving as they gathered for a Divine Liturgy marking the conclusion of the Golden Jubilee Year on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, on Friday 8 December, at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Sydney.
Led by His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, the event served as a poignant moment to reflect on a year-long journey marked by blessings, spiritual growth, and new beginnings. In his homily, Bishop Tarabay emphasised the significance of closing the Golden Jubilee Year at the Co-Cathedral, stating, “It is only fitting that we conclude the Golden Jubilee Year, which commenced at the site of the first Maronite Church in Australia, St Maroun’s Cathedral Redfern, with this feast for our Mother Mary in this beautiful Co-Cathedral.”
“The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the perfect occasion to look back in gratitude for the grace-filled journey we have undertaken together as a community of faith over the past year,” he added.
The Golden Jubilee Year has been a period of grace for the Maronite community, testifying to its enduring strength and renewing its commitment to holiness, openness, and the experience of blessings from the Holy Spirit in various ways.
A multitude of events marked the celebratory year, including the national tour of the relics of Maronite and Australian saints across five states, the historic visit of 33 Catholic Bishops of Australia to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Maronite Eparchy with the Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral Parish community, eleven ordinations, various parish events, the inauguration of a new school building at the Antonine College in Melbourne (VIC), the blessing of a new aged care home in Harris Park (NSW), and the consecration of three new churches for the Eparchy, including the first Maronite Church in Western Australia.
The pinnacle of the celebratory week was the historic visit of the Maronite Patriarch, His Beatitude and Eminence, Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, to Melbourne and Sydney in September 2023. During this visit, he presided over a public mass at Ken Rosewall Arena in Homebush NSW, attended by over 7000 faithful.
Closing the Golden Jubilee Year, Bishop Tarabay expressed gratitude to the clergy, religious, Eparchy and parish staff, volunteers, community members, Eparchial choir, and sponsors, acknowledging their instrumental role in the success of the celebrations.
He concluded, “As we close this Jubilee Year and look ahead to the future, let us carry the spiritual lessons learned and the graces received into our daily lives,” offering a fervent prayer for continued blessings and entrusting the future of the Church into the hands of the Almighty.