what's happening / news / SPEECH: Feast of the Annunciation to Mary - Interfaith Gathering

SPEECH: Feast of the Annunciation to Mary - Interfaith Gathering

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to address you this evening and let me begin by thanking again my good friend His Grace Bishop Tarabay. I have always cherished our strong friendship and admired your fantastic leadership of the Maronite community.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply honoured to address you today on a topic that resonates strongly with our shared values and aspirations: the pursuit of peace. As we gather in this sacred space, surrounded by the warmth of community and the richness of our faith, let us reflect on the significance of peace in our lives and our world.

Recently, as I am sure you are all aware here at home in New South Wales we have faced incredible difficulties and horrifying tragedy with the attacks in Bondi and Wakeley. Overseas, conflict rages around the globe particularly in Ukraine and the Middle East. It is no exaggeration to say that our world sits at an inflection point in history, as violence seems to have become the new norm to resolve our differences.

It is times like this in our history when events like tonight are so important to maintaining the peace and social harmony of our society. Because, peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but rather a state of existence which requires constant attention and care. Peace as a concept is abstract, as it entails so many different aspects of compassion, understanding and reconciliation, that it seems almost impossible to attain it let alone sustain it.

However, I say to you that everybody has a role to play in ensuring a lasting peace in our society and our world. It is through our actions, both large and small, that we can become true peacemakers in our society and ambassadors of peace in our world. When violence and conflict rages around the world, there is no better time to appreciate what we have here in New South Wales.

Here in New South Wales our peaceful and harmonious society is something that we deeply cherish. In our great state the principle that everyone must have the right to practice their religion in absolute safety and security is incredibly important. As a society we must condemn acts which seek to violate this principal strongly and without equivocation. We must always focus on what unites us, not what divides us.

Our shared belief in our democracy, our society, our faith and our communities is a powerful unifying force and it is something I believe our political, religious and community leaders should always promote. New South Wales has always stood out as a shining beacon for hope across the globe – our diverse and vibrant multicultural and multifaith society is the source of our greatest strength.

It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that we broaden our cultural understanding and live in peace with those around us. As it is through the power of our example that the rest of the world can seek to achieve what we have here in New South Wales.

Ladies and gentlemen during difficulties times people across the globe have always turned to their faith for guidance and hope, and tonight we do the same as we come here together to pray for peace and harmony.

If I can leave you with one key takeaway from tonight…peace is not merely a word; it is a guiding principle… a beacon of hope in a world often overshadowed by turmoil and discord. It is the cornerstone upon which civilizations are built, the foundation upon which communities flourish, and the legacy we leave for generations to come.

So tonight… I pray for peace and all those at home and across the globe afflicted by violence and tragedy.

Thank you.