The Accent's on Youth
Says New AM Bishop
By Domenica Acitelli
Mar Meelis Zaia received an Australian Day honour for all the community work
he has done through the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East
in Greenfield Park.
Bishop Zaia was awarded a
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia Medal.
He is honoured for helping
young people become better citizens and for developing educational
facilities in the community.
Bishop Zaia also set up a
special parish for young people that has grown from 50 to a congregation of
more than 300.
"I'm very proud of this award
and to serve this country and my community," Bishop Zaia said.
"It's something that every
good Aussie would do - serve with devotion and love."
Bishop Zaia was born in Iraq
and arrived in Australia in 1985, three years after he was ordained a priest
He migrated to the US in 1979
and was appointed to the diocese of Australia and New Zealand in 1984.
Bishop Zaia said he was
involved in starting the first primary school in Sydney that was outside the
"The St Hurmizd Assyrian
Primary School is for the Assyrian community," he said.
"And we built the Mar Narsai
High School in Greenfield Park, which was finished in 2000."
Bishop Zaia is grateful for
the help the federal and state governments have given him with the school.
"They not only helped
financially but also with setting programs and the curriculum," he said.
"We're doing well with students from kindergarten to years 7 and 8."
Bishop Zaia said the school
had also produced a program for local Assyrian young people.
"We get them involved in Bible
studies and youth programs," he said. "I have translated it into an
English-speaking practice and there are various counselling programs. The
program focuses on those troubled young people who were involved in drugs,
alcohol and gambling."
"We are getting them back into
the church and making them good Australian citizens.
"That gives me great
Article courtesy of
Fairfield Champion, 31/01/2007, p3.