Maronite Eparchy of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania ordains two new priests

9 October 2022
Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay (centre) with newly ordained Fathers Joseph-Awtel and Robert-Pio. Image: Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Australia.


It was a jubilant day of celebration as the newest Maronite Priests, Father Joseph-Awtel Maroon and Father Robert-Pio Albayeh were ordained by Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Eparch of Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania, on Saturday 1 October at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral, Harris Park NSW.

In his homily, during the double ordination, Bishop Tarabay expressed his elation at having two new priests dedicating their lives to bridging heaven and earth, and spreading the Gospel of Good News to a world which is sorely in need of it.

Bishop Tarabay added, “As priests, you will have many more children than you had even this morning, for the children of the Church are now yours, and you have the tremendous privilege of administering to them all the sacraments, the spiritual nourishment which flows from God and the Church in an unending stream of grace.”

“Keep your gaze on our Lord and your feet will always be on the sure path. Follow Him and raise your eyes to Mary, the Star of the Sea as you walk.”

Father Joseph-Awtel Maroon’s wife Helen and Father Robert-Pio Albayeh’s wife Josephine, along with their children, grandchildren, extended families and community of friends formed part of the 1,500 strong congregation, present to partake in this most joyful occasion.

While Father Joseph-Awtel was born in Parramatta, Father Robert-Pio was born and raised in the northern Lebanese village of Kfardlakous. Both however completed a Bachelor of Theology at CIS in Strathfield and are overjoyed to embrace their vocation.

Ordained to the deaconate at St Maroun’s Cathedral (Redfern) on 12 November 2016, Father Robert-Pio established Heaven on Earth 14 years ago and is dedicated to running the weekly homeless feed in Parramatta rain, hail or shine. With his parents also watching via live stream from Lebanon, Father Robert-Pio professed his vows and was ordained with his chosen motto, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

Father Joseph-Awtel, who was ordained to the deaconate at St Maroun’s Cathedral (Redfern) on 2 November 2019, has been serving as Deacon at the St Rafqa Parish (Austral). There, he has catered for the pastoral needs of more than eight hundred families in the area, after he helped establish the parish and create an active community with thriving teens and youth groups, and Arabic language schooling. Father Joseph-Awtel chose “Whoever serves me must follow me” (John 12:26) as the motto for his ordination.

Bishop Tarabay’s plan of pastoral and missionary priorities reflects a key focus on vocations, “Our Eparchy is a fertile soil for vocations to the priestly and the consecrated lives. We continue to encourage vocations in our parishes and our families and pray that the door of formation in wisdom and spiritual discipleship is open, that both may be in accordance with the heart of the Lord.

“Pray for our priests that they may be faithful to this mission of hope and so be the light that guides all people to the One who shows us in a definitive manner that God is truly with us.”

It is precisely the hope in Jesus Christ that will give us the antibodies we need to confront adversity, such as the ones presented over the past few years.

Father Joe-Awtel and Father Robert-Pio will serve the Maronite parishes of St Rafqa Austral and St John Paul II Ryde, respectively.


With thanks to the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Australia.

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