The parish centred on Harris Park, a parish of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maroun, Australia, is populous, flourishing and much resorted to. With the passing of the years, it has successfully coped with the increasing demands of the faithful, and is presently the chief centre of the aforesaid Eparchy. Mindful of this, His Excellency Doctor Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, the Eparch and Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maroun, Australia, has asked the Apostolic See to provide for the better care of souls, by raising to the high dignity of Co-Cathedral Church, the temple of God in this parish, named in honour of Our Lady of Lebanon.
Now the Congregation for Eastern Churches, having heard the favourable opinion of His Excellency Doctor Paul Richard Gallagher, Titular Archbishop of Hodelm, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, by virtue of the special faculties given to it by the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, and keeping before its eyes the strength and growth of the Catholic Religion, assents to Bishop Tarabay’s request.
Therefore, for those who are interested and for those who rely upon our consent, we decree that we raise to the dignity of a Co-Cathedral, with all the honours, privileges, duties and obligations which are proper to such churches, the parochial temple of God in Harris Park, named in honour of Our Lady of Lebanon, for the service of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maroun, Sydney.
To perfect these matters, the Congregation for Eastern Churches deputes as its agent His Excellency Doctor Paul Richard Gallagher, aforesaid, and grants him all necessary faculties, including the power of sub-delegating, and requires him to remit to the Congregation a document testifying to the completed act, as soon as the sacred duty has been discharged.
The present Decree is made fully public.
Given at Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for Eastern Churches,
30 May 2014
Leonard Cardinal Sandri
Cyril Vasil, S.I., Archbishop Secretary, Congregation for the Eastern Churches
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
St Cyprian once said that no one can have God as their Father who has not first had the Church as their Mother. The Church is our Mother because, through the waters of bap-tism with which she washes us, our souls are cleansed and prepared for eternal life in heaven. She is our Mother because she teaches her little ones the truths of the faith, nourishes them with the sacraments, and draws them upwards to God through the divine beauty of her liturgies and sacred art. Truly, the Church is the house founded by divine command on the rock of the Prince of the Apostles.
It gives me joy to find myself here with you, on this occasion when, with the approval of the Holy See, and in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, I announce the Church of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harris Park as Cathedral.
When I became your Bishop, just over a year now, I saw that I had to move the administration of the Eparchy here to Our Lady of Lebanon, Harris Park, perhaps the most populous and busiest single Catholic parish in all of Australia. It is not uncommon for 5,000 good souls to attend here for Sunday Mass, and for many others to pray at its weekday services or take part in the different parish groups.
Now, as a Cathedral, this shall be my seat, my pastoral home where I shall be in close proximity to you. I look forward to greeting you after morning prayers and seeing you and your families here during Mass.
The Cathedral with the Community Centre will continue to be a vibrant hub of Christian education and edification: a base for operations, and above all, a house of prayer.
Brothers and sisters, we thank the Lord for His abundant blessings upon us and upon this parish. We thank too the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher for his presence with us and I thank all of you who work so hard in this parish. With a full heart, I pay tribute to those who have done so much, and have already gone to their eternal reward. And of course I appreciate the work of the clergy and laity.
May the graces of God always fall upon you, and may his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lebanon, always intercede for you with her Son.
His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay