Impressions of Sydney’s Festival for the Family

Festival for Family

On Sunday 8 October the Emmanuel Community in Sydney participated in the Festival for the Family at the Fairfield Showgrounds. This festival was organized by the Eastern Churches of Australia and backed by the Coalition for Marriage. The context of the festival was the debate regarding same-sex marriage. The festival included food and many fun activities, but the focus was on a number of short presentations upholding the importance of marriage and the family. Among the speakers was Bishop Robert Rabbat from the Melkite Catholic church who stressed that the foundation of our society is faith and the family. Other speakers included: spokeswoman for Marriage Alliance, Sophie York, who gave an update on the campaign; Federal Member for Deakin and proud member of the Maronite Catholic Church, Michael Sukkar; and Dr Pansy Lai from Australian Chinese for Family. Around 10,000 people attended the festival and it was a great joy to be amongst our Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ and witness to the importance of marriage and the family. One of our sisters in the Community was especially touched stating, “I didn’t know what to expect at the festival for the family. When we arrived at the park I saw people purposely walking towards a marquee where more people were gathered. I felt very encouraged seeing and hearing priests from the eastern catholic churches there. At one point they gathered on the stage and prayed in their language. They sang a familiar song to Mary and I followed suit in English. I felt a sense of unity with the crowd because we shared a love for the Virgin Mary! Being there also was a small way of publicly defending my faith.

– Paul

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