St Charbel’s church, a parish community of Maronite Catholics in Sydney, Australia, recently hosted a conference for a group of its young people. The event centred around themes of purpose and hope.
Shortly after the camp, a twenty year old statue of the Virgin Mary was attacked at St Charbel’s church, creating a spirit of unease in the same community.
St Charbel’s has been a hub of community life for Lebanese Catholics for many years. It was featured in the SBS television programme, “Once upon a time in Punchbowl,” and witnessed some of the tensions that, throughout the nineties, made Punchbowl a byword for Lebanese gang crime. Last year it hosted an enormous procession of Eastern and Western Christians in a rare Easter celebration.
My article in the Canterbury Bankstown Express captures the great and worthwhile contribution of the parish to community life, and of its work for local young people.