Celebrating 40 years of service to deaf community

Members of the Ephpheta Centre (Supplied)

Sydney's Catholic deaf and hard of hearing community has celebrated a milestone with the 40th anniversary of the Ephpheta Centre. Source: Catholic Outlook.

Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv celebrated Mass for the centre earlier this month. Hundreds of Ephpheta Centre volunteers, members, families and friends were in attendance at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.

The Ephpheta Centre is for deaf and hard of hearing people and offers Catholic pastoral care, sacramental services, support and advocacy.

Named in honour of a passage from Mark’s Gospel (Mk 7:31- 37) in which Jesus cured a deaf man, the Ephpheta Centre, which means “be open”, is located in Punchbowl and is a ministry supported by the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay.

The Ephpheta Centre is also supported through generous donations from the Parramatta Catholic Foundation.

During Mass, Bishop Long said the centre has created new opportunities to many members of the deaf and hearing-impaired community.

“True to their biblical name, they have opened new possibilities to many of the deaf and hearing-impaired and their loved ones,” he said.

“Ephpheta is deeply rooted in Jesus’ vision of a community of solidarity and empathy which in turn has an empowering effect on the society.”

The Ephpheta Centre was launched in August 1979 out of the need to deliver services for the Catholic deaf community. The centre started through a continuation of the Catholic education that the Christian Brothers and the Dominican Sisters provided to the deaf community.

Liz McDowell, manager of business at the Ephpheta Centre, said people drive up to two hours from across the three dioceses to attend the centre.

“So, we have an incredibly devout community who really value our service and value their faith. Our role is to support deaf people in that way – in the religious side – and, at the same time, the pastoral side. Pastoral work is a lot of our work,” Ms McDowell said.

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Ephpheta Centre celebrates 40 years’ services to deaf community (Catholic Outlook

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