Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
7 Oct 2011
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will officially open Australia's first pilgrim centre in Rome, Domus Australia.
The opening will take place on Wednesday 19 October with many invited guests travelling from Australia for the special event.
Pope Benedict XVI will enter the beautifully restored St Peter Chanel Chapel where he will be escorted to the new altar by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, for the welcome and papal blessing.
Guests will include Australia's first resident Ambassador to the Holy See, Tim Fischer as well as Cardinals and Senior Clergy of the Vatican, the Australian Bishops attending the Ad Limina in Rome, Australian Clergy and Religious living, working or studying in Rome Australian seminarians in Rome as well as the Italian contractors who helped bring the project to completion and many of the supporters and sponsors who have supported the establishment of the pilgrim centre.
The St Mary's Cathedral Choir is also travelling to Rome to sing at the opening as well as other events during the week.
Nearly three years ago, a group of Australian Dioceses, led by the Archdiocese of Sydney and supported by each of the Australian Archdioceses finalised the process of buying the student house of the Marist Fathers located at Via Cernaia 14/B Rome, to establish a new pilgrim centre for visitors to Rome.
Continuing the long Church tradition of providing accommodation for pilgrims to holy places, Domus Australia is much more than just a place to visit or rest. It is a true religious and cultural centre for pilgrims.
As well as offering very comfortable accommodation for pilgrims, it provides a true Catholic pilgrimage experience, with daily Mass in English and an information centre providing the opportunity for visitors to Rome to learn more about the history of the Church and the many places of religious significance they can see.
"Domus Australia will provide Australians with a unique pilgrimage experience and further strengthen the links between the Church in Australia and the Church in Rome," Cardinal Pell said.
"It will be a real away from home for travelling Australians.
"However we are extremely honoured by the Holy Father's acceptance of our invitation to join us for the official opening and bless Domus Australia."
Pilgrims have already been staying at Domus for several weeks with the occupancy rate already running at above 80% . An investment which has to generate its own income that is financially good news.
A short walk from Stazione Termini (Rome's main railway station), Domus Australia has 32 rooms accommodating around 70 people. Each room as its own ensuite, air-conditioning, television, internet facilities and much more.
There is a lounge room and a very popular roof-top barbeque and bar area for relaxing after a day of discovery in the Eternal City.
Apart from the Chapel, underneath is a conference area for around 150 people.
A dining room for guests opens onto a courtyard and caters for around 80 people.
The official opening will take place at 5.30 in the afternoon, Rome time. It will be streamed live on the Archdiocese of Sydney's social network xt3.com and although in Sydney this will be in the early hours of the morning, the stream will be made available on demand later in the day.
Telstra is supporting the event by sponsoring the live webcast. More news and stories on the build-up to the official opening next week will also feature on xt3.com and the Archdiocese of Sydney websites.