Construction of the future Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Sydney could begin as early as April, announced His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, during the Parish’s annual commemoration of its patron saints.
The commemoration, on 29 January, was held at the Assyrian Social Centre with His Beatitude in attendance as Guest of Honour.
The blessed morning began with the offering of the Holy Eucharist by parish priest, Reverend John Kushaba, assisted by Reverend Narsai Youkhanis and many deacons.
In attendance was a large congregation of faithful from parishes across Sydney including St. Hurmizd Church, St. Mary Church and St. George Parish. Distinguished guests included Member of Parliament for Smithfield, Cr. Andrew Rohan, and Deputy Mayor of Fairfield, Cr. Anwar Khoshaba.
Following the liturgical services, the Metropolitan was invited to have breakfast with the faithful, alongside Rev. John and Rev. Narsai.
The Ss. Peter and Paul Parish Committee began the morning with the presentation of a gift; a framed photograph of the late His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East from 1920-1975.
The portrait is expected to be placed in the new church building of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, and has been inscribed with a quote from the late Patriarch; “The greatest need was to give them the teachings and the liturgies of the church in a language which they could best understand, namely, English.”
Following the presentation, His Beatitude gave his keynote address, in which he thanked the congregation for their attendance and support of Sydney’s first English-language parish. His Beatitude was pleased to witness the love of the faithful for their parish, and made known his joy at being a part of the commemoration.
Support, His Beatitude said, was vital to keeping the Church and its community alive and successful.
Recounting the Church’s many great projects within the Archdiocese, including The Assyrian Schools, Assyrian Retirement Village and future Ss. Peter and Paul Parish building, His Beatitude stressed the importance of donating for a prosperous future.
Donations, both large and small, make a very real impact on easing the Church’s burden of debt, reassured His Beatitude, particularly contributions made on Sundays. Attending and participating in church-organised functions such as commemoration days and charitable events such as the annual Walkathon were also highlighted as extremely helpful.
His Beatitude urged faithful to always aim to support the Church, as it is within this community that the Assyrian nation’s children will grow, become educated adults, and go on to marry from within their own community. Pointing to the event’s distinguished guests as examples, Cr. Rohan and Cr. Koshaba, His Beatitude said students of The Assyrian Schools had the potential to earn successful careers in our blessed country of Australia, and had the option of following in the footsteps of their brothers from the political arena.
In closing, His Beatitude praised the work of the clergy, including Rev. John Kushaba and Rev. Narsai Youkhanis, and prayed that the community will continue to support their ongoing work as spiritual fathers and chaplains in The Assyrian Schools, Youth Associations and parishes in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Ss. Peter and Paul Commemoration was an all-day event including entertainment, food, children’s activities and multiple raffle prize draws.[nggallery id=355]