Heed the cries of the suffering in Lebanon: Bishop Tarabay
Message from Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay
Maronite Bishop of Australia
to the Maronite Faithful in Australia
Regarding the Deteriorating Living and Economic Conditions in Lebanon
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
I commence my address to you today with a prayer of thanksgiving.
I thank God for all the favours and blessings He bestows upon us. I thank you for your continued support for your Church, for your steadfastness in faith, and for your constant desire to preserve our unity and our solidarity with all Lebanese people, especially during these difficult times, when our homeland, Lebanon, is facing such perilous challenges.
As you may know, our beloved Lebanon is passing through the most dangerous and difficult crisis of its modern history. A decades-long political crisis caused by serious corruption, lack of accountability and negligence in the operation of government departments and other public institutions, has culminated in the current economic situation, and resulted in a spontaneous revolution. A serious financial crisis has begun, striking at the ability of the Lebanese to secure a livelihood for themselves and their families.
Faced with the tears of mothers, with the confusion and pain of parents, with the collapse of educational, hospital, economic and financial institutions, it is no longer possible for us to remain silent. Before the ambitions and hopes of the young Lebanese turn into despair from their country so they emigrate at the first opportunity, we, the Lebanese in the prosperous countries in the expansion, including Australia, are called to respond and assist our families and young people in Lebanon in any way we can. We must all share the responsibility to help the youth of Lebanon find security and stability in their own land. We must preserve the heritage of our fathers and forefathers in the Land of the Cedars.
I address this appeal to you today as the cry of the Lebanese people has gone out to the whole world asking for help. It is our Christian and human duty to heed their cries as they become threatened in their livelihood and existence. The fate of the young Lebanese is in the balance. As Saint Mary of the Cross McKillop, the first Australian saint said: “Never see a need without doing something about it.”
What is required of us who live in this prosperous and secure society is that we build up the resilience of family life in Lebanon by the following means:
1. We stand up in the face of anyone, whether internal or external, who tries to take away the dignity of our people, the aspirations of our youth, or the dreams of our children in Lebanon. These aims that could not be achieved through war, should not be attained by impoverishing the Lebanese people.
2. We maintain contact with the largest possible number of our families and friends in Lebanon, especially those who are now financially and socially distressed. Let us make every effort to help them. We must express our gratitude to those individuals in our community who have already taken the initiative in providing aid to those of their towns and villages who are in need.
3. We maintain close ties with the people in villages and towns of Lebanon who impress upon us today, more forcibly, the meaning of belonging. Both in former times and today, many village and town associations in Australia, have made and are still making, many efforts to help our people in Lebanon. Today, we are called to intensify and to organize these initiatives so that they help the largest number of those in need.
4. We support the Maronite Patriarchal Relief Committee, recently launched in Lebanon by His Beatitude and Eminence, Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai. It has three main objectives: food security, farming, and health.
5. We support the local initiatives in our Maronite Eparchy, which we have launched in conjunction with Maronite parishes, committees and institutions, to support the work of Caritas Lebanon and other charitable organisations. Today, our Eparchy together with Maronites on Mission Australia and the Maronite Council are preparing to launch a new campaign titled “Wheat for Lebanon”, aiming to send free grain to farmers in diverse regions of Lebanon to be cultivated in the sowing season which commences in October. For more details about this initiative and to make a donation, you can contact the Maronite Eparchy or Maronites on Mission Australia.
In conclusion, I invite you to join me in praying for Lebanon and our suffering Lebanese people, beseeching the intercession of the saints. In particular, we turn to Saint Charbel, who from Lebanon became a messenger of holiness to all the world. As we have begun preparing for his Feast, let us chant saying: “Guide us, O Charbel, when trials are hardest.” Let us renew in our hearts the hope that the sun of truth will rise again in the Lebanese sky and remove all the darkness and illuminate the hearts and minds of all Lebanese, so they work together to herald a brighter, happier, and a better future for Lebanon, and I am confident that God shall never abandon Lebanon.
Sydney, Australia on 1 July 2020.
+ Antoine-Charbel Tarabay
Maronite Bishop of Australia