Leadership Workshop For Personnel Working with Minors and Vulnerable Persons

Maronite Eparchy of Australia 

Under the patronage and in the presence of His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, the Maronite Eparchy of Australia held its annual workshop entitled “A Safe Parish”, for Eparchy personnel, whether volunteer or paid, who deal with children, teenagers, the elderly, and persons with special needs.  

The workshop took place on Saturday 28 January 2017, at Our Lady of Lebanon Community Centre, Harris Park.  In attendance were some 70 members of our committees, representing various Maronite parishes and organisations, and members of the clergy, from the state of New South Wales.

This initiative aims to enhance and strengthen the seven pastoral priorities of the seven-year plan put in place by His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay.

The workshop informed attendees of the laws applicable when working with children, teenagers, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable persons.  It focussed on the responsibilities of our youth when dealing with children and minors in our Maronite parishes. 

His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay opened the workshop and led the opening prayer. He thanked attendees for responding to his invitation and for giving up their time for the benefit of the community and its people.  

This workshop was prepared and presented by Mrs Amal Bousamra. She thanked all attendees for their hard work towards the success of the Church, and its works and mission.  She emphasised the Bishop’s intention to provide regular training sessions to all persons working in the mentioned fields, and that it was designed for both self-development and the benefit of the Eparchy, while responding to Church and government requirements. 

Mr Geoff Officer, Diocesan Financial Administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, was the first speaker.  He emphasised on the importance of pastoral work in the Church, and in particular, volunteer work in service of its mission.

In her presentation, Ms Katherine Juric, Co-ordinator of Risk Consulting  at Catholic Church Insurance, spoke about “Workplace Health and Safety” when dealing with children and vulnerable persons.  She highlighted the importance of keeping the Church safe, and protecting the wellbeing of its employees, both volunteer and paid, minors and vulnerable persons, as well as our parish and diocesan organisations visitors.

Fr Timothy Brennan, Director, and Mr Thomas Bagot, National Protection & Prevention Officer, at the National Professional Standards Office, spoke about each person’s responsibility for protecting children and vulnerable persons. They emphasised the different ways of protecting children and ourselves, at the same time.

At the end of the workshop, all attendees were issued with policy booklets, for future reference.

Msgr Marcelino Youssef concluded this beneficial day with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all His graces.  He also stressed that the lessons learnt today should not stop here, but should be put into action in all fields of pastoral work within the Maronite Eparchy of Australia.



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