Our Lady of Lebanon
Maronite Catholic Church Melbourne
'Blessed and Consecrated'
"Come as living stones and let yourselves be used
in building the spiritual temple" 1P 2:5
For the first time at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, the Church bells pealed forth sounds of joyous celebration, ushering in a new era for the Maronite Community of Melbourne.
After approximately nine years of hard work, dedication, and commitment, over than 6,000 Parishioners offered thanks and praise to God, and not without a tremendous sense of achievement, at the opening of the new Our Lady of Lebanon Church, located at 230 Normanby Avenue, Thornbury, Victoria.
On Saturday 8th March 2008 at 4.00 pm, His Excellency Bishop Ad Abikaram knocked on the door of the new Church three times saying:
'I, Bishop Ad, Maronite Bishop of Australia, have come to consecrate this holy Church, in the name of Our Lady of Lebanon. Let the Door of the Lord be opened, through which the righteous have entered.'
He asked for God to open his heavenly door hoping to go beyond the mere external celebrations of this event and discover its significance and depth of meaning.
A solemn Mass was celebrated by our Bishop, with Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne, and Archbishop Frank Little, Former Archbishop of Melbourne, Monsignor Joseph Takchi, Parish Priest, and Father Edmond Andraos, Superior of the Antonine Monks in Melbourne, Fr Alain Fares, Fr Charles Hitti as well as many invited Priests and religious leaders. Also in attendance were the Antonine Sisters who have been central to the life of the Parish for over twenty eight years.
The Maronite choirs rendered hymns in English, Arabic and Aramaic, the language of our Lord, joined by students from our Maronite School, Antonine College, who danced and sang hymns specially selected for this day.
With the guidance, direction and support of Monsignor Joseph Takchi, our Parish Priest, worked tirelessly to promote the Victorian Maronite Community in all possible ways. He focused on the promotion of multiculturalism, fairness and Community building and wellbeing, together with the Maronite Parishioners of Melbourne who sponsored, donated and gave generously towards building their Church.
Over six million dollars has been raised by the Community to cover some of the costs of bricks, tiling, Altar, mosaic cross suspended over the Altar, and the stained glass windows depicting Saints of the Church. We have to raise another six million dollars.
Bishop Ad Abikaram, in his address said proudly that this new Church is a sign of renewal of heart and a living witness to our growth in faith and in hope. He referred to the commitment of our sons and daughters to their Maronite identity.
'This House of God, blessed and consecrated today, will be a glorious land mark testifying for years to come, to its future Maronite Communities, to your great generosity of heart, solidarity, unity and cooperation. It stands as a symbol of your 'communion' and as a visible sign and expression of your desire to meet, worship, commemorate and celebrate your Faith and Maroniteness.'
Bishop Ad Abikaram praised and thanked Monsignor Joseph Takchi and all the Clergy, Sisters, Parishioners and Church Committees for their hard work and dedication.
Archbishop Frank Little, spoke with deep pride and joy, reminiscing about the late Monsignor Paul El Khoury and his associations with the Maronite Church in Melbourne since 1955. He spoke of the youth and their visions and the elderly and their dreams. He spoke about his own dreams about Baalbeck and its strength in its pillars and how that depicted the strength of the Maronite Community in Melbourne. He spoke about the Cedars of Lebanon and related that to the growth and expansion of the Maronite Community in Melbourne. He spoke with passion and love and inspired our Community to be even more faithful to our Maronite Tradition.
Monsignor Joseph Takchi, in his speech said,
'We are blessed to share in the Good News of Jesus. We have achieved so much because of this faith and we look forward to a future where Jesus is the centre of our lives and we live Christian lives around the altar of God. We are living stones and together we are the Church. Let us continue being light in our world...'
He thanked everyone for their support and hard work.
Let us go forward in love, unity and worship.
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