Posted on 24 May 2016
The Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Catholic Association of Sydney Tamils (CAST) commenced with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Greystanes on 5 March 2016. A special guest at the festivities and principal celebrant for the Mass was Rt Rev Dr Joseph Ponniah, Bishop of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.
The Mass was concelebrated by Parramatta’s Bishop Emeritus Kevin Manning, Parish Priest Fr Paul Marshall, Tamil Chaplain for the Diocese Fr Robert William, former chaplain of the CAST Fr Vincent Savarimuthu, and Chaplain of the Sri Lankan community Fr Chaminda Wanigasena.
The festivities continued in Camilleri Hall where guests were greeted with a welcoming ceremony, ‘aararthi’, in accordance with Tamil tradition. They were garlanded and taken in procession to the stage where a traditional oil lamp was lit by Bishop Ponniah and community elders.
In his address, the CAST President, Jovan Titus, outlined the achievements of the association. “Twenty-five years ago, the CAST was founded with the aims of fostering spiritual growth and friendships, preserving and fostering our culture, and supporting our local community and our brethren in our homeland,” he said.
“Over the years, we have realised those ambitions through our partnership with Caritas Australia and with the support of our past patrons, past and present chaplains, past presidents and our broader community.”
Bishop Ponniah praised the CAST on the steadfastness of their faith, the living out of their Christian convictions and the assistance provided through funds raised for Caritas Australia programs.
The Chaplain to the Tamil Catholic community in the Diocese of Parramatta, Fr Robert William, said he was proud to be part of the association.
The CEO of Caritas Australia, Paul O’Callaghan, thanked the CAST for its partnership with Caritas Australia and support for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
The evening’s program included songs, dancing and a re-enactment of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Bishop Ponniah presented all the past presidents of the CAST with trophies as tokens of appreciation for their years of service.