Diamond and Pearls

diamondBrothers and Sisters in Christ,

I was privileged and honoured on Friday night to host with my brother priests and all of our parish family our Annual Gala Dinner. Our Lady of Lebanon has been home for me for seven years and I know that it has been home to many of you for much more. As you know, a home is a place for which we have great affection, a place where we feel loved, a place that loves us and welcomes us. How beautiful is this home when it is in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What makes our home even more special, is that our Lord resided in the womb of his mother, the womb of our home.

We all gathered together on Friday so that hand in hand we can work for a wonderful cause. Our home is in need of some care. The statue is corroding and causing much damage to the roof of the cathedral, the shelter is falling apart and has become a safety hazard to our children and the grotto has become very fragile and desperately needs repair.
The statue of Our Lady of Lebanon which is visible and stands tall in the skies of Western Sydney is the face of our Parish, the face of our Maronite Church in Australia. It has become a shrine for thousands of faithful people of different rites and faiths who come seeking the intercession of the Mother of God. Yes, people from all over the world come to find Jesus residing in the womb of his mother. Our Lady of Lebanon is the meeting place for young and old. Not only do people seek Jesus here, but they also seek each other. How many relationships have evolved from our parish family?

The grotto and shelter are the face of our parish on a ground level. As the faithful enter they cannot but be captivated by the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Many of our sons have proposed to their brides at the grotto. Thousands of our families have farewelled their loved ones into eternal life in front of this grotto. Millions of Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s have been prayed here. It is a place where billions of tears have flowed, some of them out of sadness or sorrow and some of them out of joy. If we could capture all the tears, the Nile of love will flow. And how beautiful is this Nile when it flows from the bosom of Our Lady. If we can compare these prayers and these tears with any earthly value, then these prayers and tears are the diamonds and pearls that flow from the heart of Our Lady.

I would like to thank Father Raphael Abboud and the Executive Committee who has worked with great determination over the past few months to organize this great event. Of course, this night could not have been as successful without the support of our wonderful Sponsors.

Finally, I would like to thank all our beloved parishioners. You are the diamonds and you are the pearls, without you our home would not exist.

Fr Tony Sarkis

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