Sunday, October 9, 2011


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI denounced a “vicious” criminality that wounds the social fabric of the Italian region of Calabria and called on Catholics to take strength and courage from their faith, to overcome the obstacles of injustice, to care more for each other and the common good.

The Holy Father was on a one day pastoral visit to the diocese of Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno, which lies in the heartland of the region home to the infamous Ndrangeta mafia. Calabria is Italy’s southernmost region, and one of its’ poorest and least developed with an unemployment rate touching 27%. The setting for Sunday’s mass was particularly poignant, a disused plastics factory, one of the many empty warehouses in the industrial complex just outside the town.

Welcoming Pope Benedict Sunday, Mayor Gianni Speranza spoke of a land of “extraordinary potential and resources” but also of “unacceptable unemployment, and dramatic injustice and violence”. He said “We cannot allow the dominion of the mafia and organised crime to grow stronger, or healthy industries be taken over by illegality”. “Your presence”, the Mayor concluded “gives courage and a voice to all of those who so desperately need it”.

In his homily Pope Benedict responded “never give in to the temptations of pessimism and retreat in on yourselves. Rely on the resources of your faith and your human capacities; strive to grow in the ability to collaborate, to take care of each other and the public good”.

He continued “If we observe this beautiful region, we recognize it as a seismic land not only from the geological point of view but also from a structural, behavioural and social standpoint; a land, that is, where acute and destabilizing problems occur, a land where unemployment is worrying, where an often vicious criminality wounds the social fabric; a land that seems to live in a state of constant emergency”.

“Do not be afraid to live and witness to faith in the various sectors of society, in many situations of human existence! You have every reason to show yourselves strong, confident and courageous, and this by the light of faith and the power of love. And when you encounter the opposition of the world, make your own the words of the Apostle: "I can do all things in him who strengthens me".

Earlier in his homily Pope Benedict had reflected on the Sunday Gospel, which recounts Jesus’ parable of the king’s wedding feast: “In the Gospel Jesus speaks to us about the response given to God's invitation - represented by a king - to participate in this his banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14). The guests invited are many, but something unexpected happens: they refuse to participate in the feast, they have something else to do, and indeed some show their contempt of the invitation. God is generous to us, He offers us His friendship, His gifts, His joy, but often we do not accept His words, we show more interest in other things, we put our material concerns, our interests first”.

“The invitation of the king even meets with hostile, aggressive reactions. But that does not bridle his generosity. He is not discouraged and he dispatches his servants to invite many other people. The rejection of the first guests invited results in the extension of the invitation to all, even the poorest, the abandoned and neglected. The servants gather all those whom they find, and the hall is filled: the goodness of the king knows no boundaries and all are given the opportunity to respond to his call. But there is a condition for remaining at this marriage feast: they must wear wedding garments. And on entering the hall, the king sees someone who has not wanted to wear the wedding garment, and for this reason he is excluded from the feast. I would like to pause for a moment on this point with a question: why did this guest accept the king’s invitation, enter the banquet hall, the door was opened for him, but he did not put on the wedding garment? What is this wedding garment? In the Mass of the Lord's Last Supper this year I made reference to a beautiful comment on this parable by St. Gregory the Great. He explains that the guest has responded to God's invitation to participate in his banquet, he, in a certain way, has the faith that opened the door of the hall for him, but he is lacking in something essential: the wedding garment, which is charity, love. And St. Gregory adds: "Each of you in the Church, then, who has faith in God has already taken part in the wedding banquet, but can claim to have the wedding garment if you do not cherish the grace of Charity" (Homily 38.9 PL 76.1287). And this garment is symbolically interwoven on two pieces of wood, one above and one below: love of God and love of our neighbour (cf. ibid., 10: PL 76.1288). We are all invited to be guests of the Lord, to come with faith to His banquet, but we must wear and cherish the wedding garment, charity, a life of profound love for God and neighbour”.

“Cherish the wedding garment of love”, urged Pope Benedict, “persevere in the witness of human and Christian values so deeply rooted in faith and in the history of this territory and its population”.

In short their can be no future for this tormented region if first there is no charity.

At the end of mass beneath a sky that threatened rain, Pope Benedict again returned to the need to care more for one another in his midday Angelus address: “Let us invoke the intercession of Mary for the most serious social problems in this area and the whole of Calabria, especially those related to unemployment, young people and the protection of persons with disabilities who require greater attention from all, especially the institutions”.

Then, looking ahead to his Sunday afternoon appointment with the community of monks at the renowned Certosa monastery in Serra San Bruno, Pope Benedict concluded: "Saint Bruno came to this land nine centuries ago, and has left a profound mark on it by the strength of his faith. The faith of the Saints renews the world! With the same faith, today you too, can renew your beloved Calabria!"'


The founder of Companions of the Cross religious order has died. Fr. Robert Bedard died on Thursday, October 6, 2011. He was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He was ordained a priest on June 6,1955 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Ottawa. He was a high-school teacher for many years.

In 1984 he began to meet with young men for a prayer group. This was the beginnings of the Companions. Archbishop Joseph Plourde provided an official blessing on February 11, 1988.

Archbishop Marcel Gervais issued the decree in May 2003 which confirmed the Companions of the Cross as a society of apostolic life. In that same year a companion order of Sisters was also established.

Today, the Companions of the Cross have establishments in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Houston and Detroit. They have 37 ordained priests as members.


Funeral Mass - Wednesday, October 12

2:00 pm - Funeral Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, 385 Sussex Dr., presided by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ.
4:00 pm (approx) - Rite of Committal at Hope Cemetery, 4660 Bank St.


  • We encourage you to consider carpooling or using public transit to go to the Cathedral. Although Ottawa police will be hooding the parking meters in the area of Sussex, Guigues, and St Patrick, it will still be difficult to find parking.
  • We expect large numbers to participate in the funeral Mass. Once the Cathedral is full, people will be directed downstairs to the hall, where chairs and a large screen will be set up. Michael Hanley of Food for Life television ministry will be providing a live broadcast of the liturgy on the screen. Priests will come down to distribute holy communion.


UCAN REPORT: New institution set to open in 2014, will provide students with holistic approach to their studies reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
October 7, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of University plan faces uphill climb
Jesuit Fathers Stephen Chow and Michael McFarland

Plans by the Society of Jesuits to open a liberal arts university have faced recent challenges, while the temporary head of the proposed university yesterday addressed the scope and aim of the institution.

The university has been slated for opening in 2014, though seven other institutions have tendered bids, along with the Jesuits, to secure the plot of land for the institution. Moreover, the original plan was to serve 3,000 students, but the government’s requirement is to offer 8,000 places to students.

Father Michael McFarland, outgoing president of Holy Cross College in the US, told a gathering of alumni and celebrities during a luncheon yesterday that the new university would provide students with a holistic approach to their studies, instill critical thinking skills and train future leaders.

In addition to humanities, sciences and social sciences, “religious studies will be a required subject for all students, though this will not be limited to Catholic knowledge,” he said.

The project needs HK$400 million (US$51.39 million) to get started, and fundraising has been ongoing over the last six months, a representative from the Society of Jesuits said.

The Jesuits will approach alumni from two Jesuit-run high schools in Hong Kong, as well as local and overseas funding agencies and foundations, to raise the necessary funds.

EUROPE: CAMPAIGN- SAVE THE CHILDREN EVERY ONE MET IN ROME REPORT: These simple red balloons symbolize hope and survival. Each one represents a child that's between life and death.

“Everyday in my field of work, I see children who are sick, who have pneumonia, malaria. These poor mothers who can't afford to get the medicine,” said Tesfaye Hailu, a doctor from Ethiopia.

Doctor Tesfaye Hailu works in Ethiopia. He's part of a world wide campaign called “Save the Children-Every One.” It recently made its way to Rome where it was welcomed by local children, television actors, professional soccer players and local politicians.

Gianni Alemanno
Mayor of Rome
“We can't sleep calmly knowing that a child's life is threatened.”

The problem is worldwide. According to the campaign this year alone, nearly 9 million children will die from basic illnesses that can be treated with relatively cheap medicine. It's a reality that even these young children are quite aware of.

“We can send medicine and money that can help with the construction of hospitals so we can fix the problem.”

Tesfaye Hailu
Save the Children (Ethiopia)

“There is progress definitely. But it's not enough to meet the Millennium development goal in 2015.”

The development goal was passed in the year 2000. That's when world leaders decided to take action so that the number of children who die from treatable illnesses worldwide, is reduced to roughly two thirds by the year 2015.


ALL AFRICA REPORT: Various businesses and communities in Tsumeb and Grootfontein last week participated in the Walk-for-Bibles in aid of the Bible Society of Namibia.

About 300 entries were received, and N$29 031 was raised through the event. Children from Hope Centre and S.O.S also participated in the event.

Due to the success of the project the organisers are planning to make it a yearly occurrence.


PERTH DIOCESE REPORT: Article by: B Spinks, Photos by: Fr R Cross

Top former AFL coach Mick Malthouse visited the Cathedral Presbytery for morning tea with Bishop Don Sproxton, Dean of the Cathedral, Mgr Michael Keating and several others on 4 October.
This visit recalls when Mick Malthouse - together with players from the West Coast Eagles whom he was coaching - would make an annual visit to Archbishop Hickey and the Cathedral Presbytery clergy and staff in the early 1990s, Mgr Keating said.
He is in Perth promoting his recent book, “The Ox is Slow but the Earth is Patient”. Its title refers to an old Chinese proverb which he was once quoted as saying.
Mick Malthouse was known as coming out with these types of quotes to inspire his players to higher things.


St. Denis
Feast: October 9
Feast Day:
October 9
Third century, Italy
258 at Montmarte
Major Shrine:
Abbey of Saint-Denis, Saint Denis Basilica
Patron of:
France; Paris; against frenzy; against strife; headaches; hydrophobia; possessed people; rabies

Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, or of his early life. His feast is kept on 9 October. He is usually represented with his head in his hands because, according to the legend, after his execution the corpse rose again and carried the head for some distance. That, however, while still very young he was distinguished for hisvirtuous life, knowledge of sacred things, and firm faith, is proved by the fact that Pope Fabian (236-250) sent him with some other missionary bishops to Gaul on a difficult mission. The Church of Gaul had suffered terribly under the persecution of the Emperor Decius and the new messengers of Faith were to endeavour to restore it to its former flourishing condition. Denis with his inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived in the neighbourhood of the present city of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine. The earliest document giving an account of his labours and of his martyrdom (Passio SS. Dionsyii, Rustici et Eleutherii), dating from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century and wrongly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, is interwoven with much legend, from which, however, the following facts can be gleaned.
On the island in the Seine Denis built a church and provided for a regular solemnization of the Divine service. His fearless and indefatigable preaching of the Gospel led to countless conversions. This aroused the envy, anger and hatred of the heathen priests. They incited the populace against the strangers and importuned the governor Fescenninus Sisinnius to put a stop by force to the new teaching. Denis with his two companions were seized and as they persevered in their faith were beheaded (about 275) after many tortures. Later accounts give a detailed description of the confessors' sufferings. They were scourged, imprisoned, racked, thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and finally beheaded. Gregory of Tours simply states: "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit" (Hist. Franc. I, 30). The bodies of the three holy martyrs received an honourable burial through the efforts of a pious matron named Catulla and a small shrine was erected over their graves. This was later on replaced by a beautiful basilica (egregium templum) which Venantius celebrated in verse (Carm. I, ii).
From the reign of King Dagobert (622-638) the church and the Benedictine monastery attached to it were more and more beautifully adorned; the veneration of St. Denis became by degrees a national devotion, rulers and princes vying with one another to promote it. This development is due in no small degree to an error prevailing throughout the Middle Ages, which identified St. Denis of Paris with St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and with the Pseudo-Dionysius, the composer of the Areopagitic writings. The combining of these three persons in one was doubtless effected as early as the eighth or perhaps the seventh century, but it was only through the "Areopagitica" written in 836 byHilduin, Abbot of Saint-Denis, at the request of Louis the Pious, that this serious error took deep root. The investigations of Launoy first threw doubt on the story and the Bollandist de Bye entirely rejected it. Hilduin was probably deceived by the same apocryphal Latin and Greek fictions. The possession of the Areopagitic writings (since 827 in Saint-Denis) strengthened his conviction of this truth. Historiographers of the present day do not dispute this point. All attempts of Darras, Vidieu, C. Schneider, and others to throw some light on the subject have proved fruitless.


Isaiah 25: 6 - 10
6On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined.7And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.8He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.9It will be said on that day, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."10For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trodden down in his place, as straw is trodden down in a dung-pit.
Psalms 23: 1 - 6
1The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Philippians 4: 12 - 14, 19 - 20
12I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.13I can do all things in him who strengthens me.14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Matthew 22: 1 - 14
1And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,
2"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,
3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.
4Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.'
5But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
9Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.'
10And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;
12and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.
13Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'
14For many are called, but few are chosen."


VATICAN CHANNEL REPORT: Promoting inter-religious dialogue, continuing and intensifying (RADIO VATICANA IMAGE)

work toward the common good under the guidance and inspiration of the Gospel: these were some of the tasks to which Pope

Benedict XVI encouraged the bishops of Indonesia on Friday in remarks to them at the end of

their ad limina visits. Noting the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom in Indonesia as well

as the great religious diversity present in Indonesian culture and society, the Holy Father urged

the bishops, "to ensure that those whom [they] shepherd know that they, as Christians, are to be

agents of peace, perseverance and charity," adding, "the Church is called to follow her Divine

Master, who unites all things in himself, and to witness to that peace which only he can give.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The Syrian Christian community has achieved, after many years, permission to build its own place of worship from the Government and the President. In Istanbul there are about 17 thousand Syrians, who mostly fled coming from the south east of the country in the mid 80s.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian Christian community in Turkey has received approval for the construction of its first church in turkish territory. The building should be built in the district of Yesilkoy, Istanbul, and should meet the needs of a community of about 17 thousand Syrians living in the metropolis. After years of discussion and caveats, the approval came from the Turkish Prime Minister and President. The leader of the Syriac community, Kenan Altınışık said that work will begin as soon as the location has been chosen.

"Half of our community live in the neighborhood of Yeşilköy, or the surrounding area. We rent churches for Sunday celebrations, but we can begin to celebrate only at 11.30, while, according to our tradition, the ceremony should end by 10.30 am, "says Kenan Altınışık.

The land for the construction of the church will be assigned to the ancient Christian community by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, construction costs will be covered by the Syrians. A City Hall official said that they are already looking for a suitable land available for building the new church. The building will be built in a style with clear traces of the ancient Syriac culture. Contacts are ongoing between the community and officials to find a location that is satisfactory. In addition to the church a community center will also be built, the title given to the new place of worship will be "Church of Mother Mary ". The Syrians come mainly from the southeast of the country. Many of them migrated to Istanbul and abroad in the mid-80s, because of political instability in the region at the time.


- A low-budget film on the crucial role of fathers debuted as the number one new movie during its opening weekend in theaters across the U.S.

“There is an opportunity for fathers to step up in our culture and take more of a spiritual role and to affirm and love their kids and to prepare them for what should be a Godly legacy among families,” Alex Kendrick, actor and director for “Courageous,” told CNA on Oct. 6

“We see too many men accepting a 'good enough' mentality when their role is crucial to helping each child realize that God loves them.”

“Courageous,” has now ranked as the number four movie in the country, despite opening against six other movies with almost three times as many screens. The film opened on Sept. 30 to over 1,100 theaters across the U.S.

Kendrick, who works with the Sherwood Pictures production company that also produced the 2008 hit “Fireproof,” explained that the film follows the lives of four police officers who grapple with their identity as men, fathers and societal leaders.

“We saw a correlation with the motto of law enforcement, 'to serve and protect,' with that of fathers and many ways he serves the family as spiritual leader protector to provide for them,” Kendrick said.

“When a father is engaged and loving his children the way he should it's easier for them to believe that God loves them,” he added, “if they're not engaged, it's more difficult for them to believe that God loves them.”

“The father's role is crucial in that regard and we wanted to remind men of that and in a larger context, remind parents of their role to love and nurture their children.”

On what served as the inspiration for the film, Kendrick said that between movies, the company goes through what they call a “season of prayer” to discern what their next step should be.

“We've learned that the more we seek God, the more we seek his favor, the more he tends to direct and bless us.”

The group then “delved into the Scriptures and asked 'what does God say about fatherhood?' and then pulled those elements out and formed our plot around that.”

Kendrick said that the movie is unique in that it was made in Albany, Ga. “(Y)ou can't get any further outside Hollywood,” he laughed, adding that the actors were also selected based on their embodiment of the film's message.

“We look for people who resonate with the story, the purpose behind the movie,” he said. “When the movie's over they don't look at it as a 'gig' or as just a job but they expect it to change culture and glorify God.”

“Those are the kind of people we look for and we're happy to have found them. Who you see on screen in real life all believe what this movie is about and are speaking for it.”

Kendrick observed that the success of the film can be traced to the hunger many Americans have to see basic virtues portrayed in movies – a rarity in today's cinematic culture.

“I think they respect the values presented on screen,” he said. “For many, they want these values in their own life.”

“It's really going after that part of us that wants that higher calling, that wants that more noble life and noble standard and a life that honors God.”

With a modest budget of less than $2 million, and a cast of “no-name” actors, Sherwood Pictures has been thrilled with the unexpected response to the movie.

“We take joy in doing something that requires faith and gives God the opportunity to do only what he can do,” Kendrick said. “We make the movies but God changes the heart.”

He added that the personal feedback the company has gotten from moviegoers has been astounding.

“We're hearing so many testimonies from people all over the U.S. and Canada—hundreds and hundreds of emails and Facebook notes and things like that, even phone calls” from people relaying how touched they were by the film.

“It's been very, very exciting to see the response to this movie.”


Homeless charity saves tax payers £5 million | Anchor House,homeless residents, Canning Town, Newham

Patron Jeremy Paxman on recent visit
A small homeless charity in East London has been found to have saved society and tax payers more than £5 million a year by helping to turn around the lives of its homeless residents. A report undertaken by experts at Oxford Economics found that Anchor House, residential and life-skills centre in Canning Town, Newham, provides £3.98 in benefits to society for every £1 invested in its operations.

Anchor House director, Keith Fernett, says the charity decided to put itself under the microscope in the lead up to its 17 October £9.3 million appeal launch to prove to its supporters how much of a difference they are indeed making. "We are in the business of turning lives around and as a result of our work there are huge cost savings to society," Mr Fernett said.

"Because of our grass-roots support we saved society up to £3.2 million from lower crime, £388,000 through increased employment and £225,000 by hosting Alcoholics Anonymous."

The report also found that Anchor House saved the NHS £22,000 in hospital admissions, £14,000 in hospital outpatient treatments, £10,000 in acute mental health services and £5,000 in A&E treatment.

The award winning and nationally acclaimed charity accommodates up to 180 single homeless people each year, and addresses the root causes of homelessness through training, education, volunteering and personal rehabilitation.

Monsignor John Armitage, the charity’s chairman and Vicar General of Brentwood Diocese, says despite Anchor House being a small charity with limited resources and operating in one of England’s most deprived boroughs, the results achieved are "astounding".

"Last year 58 of our residents moved on to independent living, 32 were in employment and we trained more than 1,249 locals within the community," Monsignor John said. "We are foot soldiers of the Big Society initiative and this report proves that.

"Anchor House is a charity worthy of investment, not only because it succeeds and makes a difference, but because it is focused on helping society’s most marginalised and vulnerable who are often over looked."

Andrew Logan from Oxford Economic says social return on investment (SROI) is a popular metric used to quantify the positive impacts charities and other types of institutions generate per £1 invested, however there is still very few charities taking advantage of it.

"To calculate the SROI a charity needs to monetarise the economic, social and environmental outcomes that its efforts produce over the time of investment and then divide it by the costs," Mr Logan said.

"This isn’t an easy task and can be off-putting for charities with limited time and resources.

"But in comparison to other SROI studies of homeless projects which have been conducted in the UK, Anchor House was found to provide an exceptional high return to society."

To download a copy of the report or make a donation visit

Anchor House is a project addressing the root causes of homelessness: deprivation; drug addiction; mental illness; unemployment; lack of skills/education and crime. Canning Town, in the London Borough of Newham, is the third most deprived borough in England and Wales.


CISA REPORT: CONAKRY, October 4, 2011 (CISA) -On the occasion of the celebrations for the 53rd anniversary of national independence, the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, invitation the opposition to dialogue. This was after violent clashes on September 27 between the police and participants in an unauthorized demonstration.

“To the political parties and their militants I renew the offer to dialogue. No obstacle is insurmountable, no divergence can resist our common commitment to respect freedom and law”, said the Head of State in a radio speech.

The clashes resulted in the deaths of two people and injury to 40 others. About 300 people were arrested in connection to the protests. The demonstration was organized by the opposition to protest on the modalities of convening the parliamentary elections on December 29.

Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly, Archbishop of Conakry and Co-President of the National Commission for Reconciliation (NCR), has appealed to the government and the opposition to dialogue “without conditions, in the name of God and on behalf of our Guinean brothers and sisters,” he said this on September 28, during the day of prayer organized in 60 different places in the Country, by the government and the NCR.

Archbishop Coulibaly also said that the NCR is at God’s and the people’s service, and urged people “to remember all the victims of Guinea in your prayers every day, so that God opens the doors of Paradise to them”.

The Archbishop of Conakry emphasized that “Guineans should live together in unity: God has endowed our Country with wealth and it is in harmony that we can enjoy it”.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
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 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 and the Archdiocese of Sydney websites.