His Beatitude and Eminence, Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Patriarch of Antoich and All the East has blessed and officially opened the new Our Lady Mercy Place Harris Park aged care home on Monday 18 September.
The new home was first announced in 2013 in response to the Maronite community’s growing need to provide culturally focused care for the elderly. It will run in line with the pastoral priorities of the Maronite Church in Australia – the provision of quality care for the elderly which encompasses their spiritual, social and wellbeing needs. This vision has been made possible by the Our Lady Aged Care Centre (OLACC) recently joined by Mercy Health who will operate the home.
“His Beatitude’s visit is an important juncture in the history of the Maronites in Australia, providing a momentous occasion to come together with our Patriarch and Shepherd, the symbol of our unity,” said Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. “So it is fitting that His Beatitude also blesses Our Lady Mercy Place, which realises a key priority from the 2014-2020 Pastoral Plan.”.
Mr Barry Barakat, Chair, OLACC, said this facility will address the needs of the significant population of first and second generation Maronite elderly who are seeking quality aged care close to their community.
The centre was blessed by His Beatitude and opened in the presence of His Excellency Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, Most Reverend Bishop Paul-Nabil El-Sayyah, Monsignor Marcelino Youssef, Vicar General, The Hon Stephen Kamper, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Lands and Property, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Sport; Dr Andrew Charlton, Federal Member for Parramatta; and Ms Donna Davis, State Member for Parramatta. The OLACC Board, Ms Virginia Bourke, Chair of Mercy Health, Other government delegates, Mercy Health, Parramatta City past and present councillors, clergy and community representatives were also present to witness this milestone.
This project was made possible via grant funding from both the Federal Government, the NSW State Government, the support of our Eparchy and the wider community who contributed financially and in-kind.
The centre’s opening is an important milestone for our community, recognising the contribution that our elderly provide for the betterment of our society. The home is expected to welcome its first residents in October/November 2023.