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A statue of St Rita in Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral, Harris Park (The Catholic Weekly/Dominique Shina Estephan)

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Co-Cathedral in Harris Park has announced plans for a new Mass centre in Sydney’s west dedicated to a popular 15th-century saint. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

In line with the feast of St Rita on May 22, the church was successful in purchasing a new property – formerly a Mormon church – on 306 Woodville Rd in Guildford, within the boundaries of the cathedral, which also includes a hall.

The new church, with capacity for 200 worshippers, will undergo renovations and is expected to open later this year. 

The church will come under the care of the neighbouring cathedral and its priests who hope to provide daily Mass for local residents and those unable to travel to Our Lady of Lebanon.

“In Lebanon, the churches are in the middle of villages, and everyone walks there. In a sense, that’s what our aim has to be—to have churches that are local, accessible and personal,” Fr Danny Nouh, the newly-appointed cathedral dean, told The Catholic Weekly.

“The cathedral here is so big, but we also know that the community out west is growing, and it has been Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay’s hope to outreach further into the smaller pockets of the community.”

Fr Nouh said the acquisition and its announcement on St Rita’s feast day could not have come at a better time.

“We’ve always wanted to dedicate a church to St Rita and with this coming up, it’s as if St Rita is making the path for us,” he said.

Although not a Maronite saint, devotion to St Rita has gained traction among Lebanese Catholics. In her lifetime, St Rita was a wife, a mother and a religious sister.

“We see ourselves in her suffering and crosses we bear,” Fr Nouh  said.

“Each one of us finds something that relates to us and it’s why we love her.”


New church acquisition dedicated to St Rita (By George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)