Launch of The Maronite Centre – A Shared Vision

"The Maronite Centre will encompass all the Offices of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia including the Maronite Agencies under the same roof"- President Anthony Hasham

Bishop Tarabay, Sister Seaade, A. Hashem, Sarkis Nassif, Z. Duwaihi and Consul C. Makaroun cutting the cake

Launch of The Maronite Centre – A Shared Vision

"The Maronite Centre will encompass all the Offices of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia including the Maronite Agencies under the same roof"- President Anthony Hasham


(This article was Edited and Translated by the M. E. Times Int'l)

Sydney - M. E. Times Int'l: The Maronite League in Australia held a dinner at the “Westella” Hall under the patronage of H.E. Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay, the Archbishop of the Maronite Diocese of Australia, and the presence of a crowd of members and invitees, including Charbel Macaron the Consul General of Lebanon in Sydney, Sister Mary Antoinette Saadeh the head of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family and Father Dr. Louis Ferkh the superrior of St. Charbel monastery.

The dinner was also attended by a number of leading personalities, partisan, religious, social and media figures, including the former MP Darell Melhem, Michel Duweihi the Regional President of the World Cultural Union, Businessman Sarkis Nassif the Coordinator of the Maronite Patriarchal Foundation for Global Development in Australia, as well as  a number of representatives from the Maronite church and community. 

Sister Mary Antoinette Saadeh

The master of the ceremony was Bacchus Gerges, who welcomed bishop Tarabay, the officials and participants.

He talked about the Maronite Catholic Society's role and activity and the cooperating bodies to serve the next Maronite generations in Australia.

Then some brief words were given by some young people, about their origins and background, the importance of the (MCS) and its positive role in helping the Maronite youth under "The Maronite Centre – A Shared Vision" in order to strengthen cooperation and implement new projects to serve the Maronite Church.


At the launch a speech was given by Dr Anthony Hasham, President of the Maronite Catholic Society, who explained the vision of Maronite Centre. Excerpts from the speech as follows:

"I would like to start by welcoming Back H.E Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay, after his return from the Conference of Bishops that was just held in Canada.  It is my great privilege to welcome each one of you tonight on this milestone occasion as we celebrate the concept launching of “The Maronite Centre – A Shared Vision”. 

Fr. Louis Ferkh with the President of the MCS Anthony Hashem, Richard Andary and other guest

"I welcome you on behalf of the Maronite Catholic Society and special welcome to the Australian Maronite Professionals Council (AMPC), the Australian Maronite Council (AMC), Maronite Care, the World Patriarchal Maronite Foundation (WPMF), Maronites on Mission (MOM), and Maronite Ladies of the Gospel (MLOG) and the Maronite Heritage Centre."

"Together we represent the Maronite Community of Australia, in one heart, one mind, and one spirit, with a “Shared Vision” for our future progress.  With the cooperation of our combined organisations, we can achieve so much more in the mission of our Church, inspired by our Lebanese Culture and Heritage."   

"This year, As the newly elected President, and with the support of the Board of Management of the Maronite Catholic Society, we have led the way and proposed this idea of having all the Agencies consolidated in “The Maronite Centre” with consultation with His excellency and the Finance Committee.

The Maronite Centre will encompass all the Offices of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia including the Maronite Agencies under the same roof.  With the input and cooperation of our fellow agencies, this concept has developed into what we are presenting here tonight."

Michel Dowaihi, (2nd R) and his wife, former MP Daryl Melhem,

Fr. Louis Ferkh and other guest

Terry Kayrouz, his wife, Joe Peter Khoury and his wife

Bishop Tarabay, Sister Seaade, Hashem, Consul Makaroun his wife

Anwar Harb, his wife and Tony Khattar

The proposed Maronite Centre will encompass some of the following:

         The Maronite Chancery including the Bishop’s office and the Vicar General’s office

         Maronite Care, Counselling, Family Office and Youth Office

         Education, Vocational Work, Faith Formation, Maronite Courses and Mentoring

         Media Centre

         Offices of the Maronite Agencies

         Conference and hospitality facilities

         A welcoming entrance with a Chapel, the Maronite Heritage Centre, library, and book shops

         Outdoor landscaping with Maronite identity and recreational areas

         And, possibly Commercial leases until these spaces become necessary for our Church work

"Each organisation will retain its own identity and will continue to have their own administrative structures and continue to conduct their business as usual, while working together and raising awareness together. We are also proposing to have an Operational Manager running the Centre and applying for numerous Government Grants. Eventually, we expect the Centre to be self-sufficient and viable in procuring necessary funding for all the different organisations involved and to have full Legal and accounting capabilities to service the wider Eparchy, Parishes, Agencies and organisations."

Businessman Sarkis Nassif (C) and other guests

President of the MCS Anthony Hachem and Fr. Maroun Moussa

"Together we will have stronger and more effective collaboration, and our events will not overlap as experienced on many past occasions. The generosity of our individual sponsors will then become a consolidated effort. As a result, each unique organisation can focus on providing specific needs of the Eparchy. Furthermore, to ensure our “Shared Vision” with greater unity and communication, selected representatives from each of the organisations will meet at least quarterly to present their plans to the others. This will reaffirm our mutual support for one another in our shared vision for the Maronite Eparchy and will ensure we have no overlaps."

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank first, all the sponsors who supported me on this vision. Secondly, I would like to thank the Board of management of the MCS for supporting me on this initiative. Finally, a special thank you from all of us to the soldiers behind closed doors who worked so hard and gave from their personal time to make this possible.  Thank you to Mrs Salwa Elias of the AMPC and Ms Natalie Boustanie of the MCS."


In turn, Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay, the Archbishop of the Maronite diocese of Australia,  delivered a speech welcoming the attendees, congratulating the management of the new Maronite Catholic Society and its President Dr. Anthony Hashem.

"The starting point for the service of the Church and our Maronite community in Australia in the future is a “shared vision” to guide our youth to cooperate in unity and build our Maronite and Christian personality," he said while noting the many challenges that must be addressed.

In his speech, Archbishop talked about his "recent visit to Canada and his attendance at the Fifth Conference of the Maronite Bishops under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Beshara Boutros Rahi, during which they studied a number of important projects and discussed some ideas and experiences."

Bishop Tarabay concluded by saying that this conference is the first of its kind and is scheduled to be held again on November 9 and 11 in Lebanon, where the most important item of its agenda is planning to achieve the goals and stabilize the Christian presence in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Natalie Terry Kayrouz (C) and other guests

Members of the media

Nissrine Khadra and other guests


Copyright 2007