His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, has officially opened the retirement village erected at the rear of St. Mary Church in Sydney’s western suburbs.
The old-age housing project, on Polding Street, Smithfield, was established after long preparations and endurance.
The complex mainly accommodates elderly members of the Assyrian community who are in the stages of retirement and need a quiet, newly built and local living atmosphere.
The official opening commenced in St. Mary Church Hall where guests speakers and retirees shared in a meal.
Present alongside His Holiness were: His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon; His Grace Mar Emmanuel Joseph, Bishop of Canada; the Honourable Chris Bowen MP, Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship; Mr. Guy Zangari, Member for Fairfield, New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Cr. Anwar Khoshaba OAM, Deputy Mayor of Fairfield, representatives of the Department of Housing, banking institutions and many other guests.
His Holiness opened the program with the Lord’s prayer, which was followed by the keynote address presented by His Beatitude Mar Meelis in the English language. In his speech, he expressed the hard and tireless work of the church, its members and committees in bringing this dream into reality.
The purpose of the retirement village was to provide a better means of living for the retired members of the community, said His Beatitude, who thanked the guests of honour personally for all their input in accomplishing the project.
On behalf of the residents of the village, Mr. Kushaba spoke on the benefits of the accommodation and offered thanksgiving to the church for giving elderly parishioners the means of living so close to the church and the community.
Chris Bowen, who opened his speech with a greeting in the Assyrian language, expressed his happiness in seeing the project complete and with the blessings of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV among prelates.
He also praised His Beatitude Mar Meelis for all the accomplished works for his church and community. Mr Bowen said the last time he had visited the village he was wearing boots and a helmet, however, now he is standing moments away from the opening of the village. He wished a peaceful life for all the residents and the entire Assyrian Community for they have faced many hardships in their migration to these peaceful countries.
His Holiness along with the prelates, clergy and honoured guests then cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the village, and a plaque was revealed stating the opening’s date with the leader of the church, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV and His Beatitude Mar Meelis.
Afterwards, His Holiness toured some homes of the residents where he inspected the living quality of the village. His Beatitude Mar Meelis explained many aspects of the village.
The village offers many services to the residents, from medical to cleaning, and meets all their basic necessities. It provides a supportive atmosphere to assist residents in all aspects of their lives. Besides their physical needs, they are also spiritually supported seeing as the church is within close walking distance and all ministries are only a few minutes away.[nggallery id=276]