First of all, I would like to pay my respect and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this meeting takes place, and also pay respect to Elders both past and present.
I thank you for the invitation to join you in this special celebration. It’s a time of year that brings some of the best dishes to the table across the world as families and neighbours gather for iftar. On behalf of the Catholic Church in Parramatta, I offer you a greeting of peace and my congratulations on the conclusion of your month-long vigil of fasting, prayer, and works of mercy in service of our God and neighbour.
In Western Sydney which is where the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is situated, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our nation itself. There are those have been here for generations, as well as those who have only just arrived from war-torn countries like Iraq and Syria. We stand united as citizens of Australia and as brothers and sisters of the human family. We stand in celebration of our common humanity and dedication to peace and justice for all.
And in this month of reflection, we cannot forget the millions of lives that have been displaced by conflict and struggle, across the world. I just returned from Palestine where I witnessed some of the most confronting situations. I was privileged to meet members of the Israeli Palestinian bereaved families for reconciliation and peace. We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals. This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being. We will continue to work together for a more just, more compassionate society, one that stays true to its tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees into our nation, including those who are Muslim.
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