St. George Maronite Catholic Church is located in Thornleigh, New South Wales. We serve the Maronites of the Northern Suburbs, North Shore and Central Coast areas of Sydney.
St George Thornleigh, originally known as St Joachim, named after the father of Our Lady, was attended to by the Lebanese migrants since early 1900s, by the people from the Northern Lebanese Villages who migrated to Sydney and chose to live in the Suburb Thornleigh. They chose Thornleigh because at that time the bushy landscape of the area reminded them of their home town in Lebanon.
Over the years, as their population grew, the Lebanese community in Thornleigh felt the need and desire for a Maronite church, to pass over the Maronite traditions and beliefs to their children and grandchildren. There wasn’t a better option than St Joachim, the church that welcomed them when they were new to the area of Thornleigh.
In 1989, St Joachim’s was sold to the Diocese of St Maroun. The church was renamed to St George to coincide with the village Church of St George Church in Lebanon.
St George church was consecrated on the 29th October 1989, with the blessing and encouragement of Bishop Abdou Khalifi. Excitement overwhelmed every Lebanese family in the area, as it was a big achievement for them. Father Hanna Lahoud was appointed the first Parish Priest to serve in the community followed by many of the Maronite Orders including St Charbel’s Monastery, the Congregation of the Lebanese Maronite Missionaries and other Diocesan Priests.
Our Church Today
On 22 August 1999, one week after the 98th Anniversary of the Church, His Grace, Joseph Hitti, celebrated the last mass. Construction of the new Church began in September 1999 by the supervision of Father Badwi Habib from the Lebanese Maronite Missionaries. The Maronite community rallied together to help build our Church. The Maronite Community came together as one family and built this magnificent Church. They generously donated materials, money and their labour time to ensure that this Church was going to be built. While the Church was being constructed, the Maronite Mass was still being celebrated for the community at the nearby Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
The Consecration of the new St George Church Thornleigh was celebrated on Sunday 1 April 2001. On this day St George was officially declared a Parish.
The priests who have served our Parish include:
- Father Pierre Shwah, Parish Priest (October 2002 – September 2006)
- Father Peter Joseph, Assistant Parish Priest (May 2004 – January 2005)
- Father Jean El-Khoury, Assistant Parish Priest (January 2005 – December 2005)
- Father Bechara Trad, Parish Priest (September 2006 – October 2010 and October 2013 – November 2019)
- Father John Kady, Assistant Parish Priest (September 2006 – January 2009)
- Father Bassem Zaynoun, Assistant Parish Priest (January 2009 – October 2010)
- Father Bassem Zaynoun, Parish Priest (October 2010 – October 2013)
- Father Boutros Samia, Assistant Parish Priest (October 2013 – November 2019)
- Monsignor Shora Maree, Parish Priest (November 2019 – January 2022)
- Father Claude Rizk, Assistant Parish Priest (November 2019 – January 2022)
- Father Claude Rizk, Parish Priest (January 2022 – current)
The growth of the Parish and the community continued each year, and in December, 2006 plans were sent into council for a building project to build Parish Offices, a new awning and a cross to be placed on the roof of the Church. On the 21st of October 2007, Bishop Ad Abikaram consecrated the new Parish Offices and the opening of these offices took place. Also in 2007, the Parish purchased the house next door in Wells Street.
The growth of the Maronite Parish community in this area is a testimony of the strength of spirit in a community of immigrants. Our grandparents and parents have laid the groundwork for future, for their children and grandchildren to follow on so that they may grow with their traditional faith.