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Cardinal Pell was always pleased to see Sydney lead

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller attends the funeral Mass for Cardinal George Pell in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2023. Photo: CNS/Paul Haring
Cardinal Gerhard Müller attends the funeral Mass for Cardinal George Pell in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2023. Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

To celebrate the first anniversary of Cardinal Pell’s death, a Mass was celebrated at the beautiful chapel in Domus Australia in Rome. This chapel was very dear to His Eminence and it was fitting to have this celebration in this special place.

The principal celebrant, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, in his homily remembered Cardinal Pell as a man who was willing to sacrifice for good, as well as a pastor who had a real commitment to marriage and family in the Spirit of Christ.

At the 9 January Mass, Cardinal Müller recalled one of the hardest moments of Cardinal Pell’s career—a conviction of child sex abuse charges, then spending 404 days in solitary confinement in prison, only to have his convictions overturned.

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“The persecution suffered by Cardinal Pell is the same persecution of Christians that occurred throughout history, in different guises. Do not be afraid,” Cardinal Muller reflected.

Concelebrating with Cardinal Müller were five cardinals, Bishop Richard Umbers, and 20 priests including priests of the Archdiocese of Sydney currently in Rome.

Cardinal Pell’s niece, Dr Sarah Jane Pell, and Eduard Habsburg, the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See were among special guests.

“The impact of Cardinal Pell is very visible In Sydney and Melbourne, he was a big man with great vision, a man of great strength and courage,” Bishop Umbers said after the Mass.

“The last 20 years in the Archdiocese of Sydney have seen real growth in the leadership among a number of young Catholics. His legacy needs to be correctly remembered”.

Fr Joseph Hamilton, rector of Domus Australia and Cardinal Pell’s former secretary, noted in an interview after the Mass: “I think His Eminence was very loved here in the city of Rome. His witness was very much appreciated and his loss was very unexpected.”

In his recent article in The Catholic Weekly Anthony Cleary wrote of the last time he met with Cardinal Pell, and how special that was.

The last time I met with the Cardinal was in 2022, at the ceremony to bless and unveil the plaque dedicated to the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at Barangaroo on 17 July 2008, during World Youth Day.

This was indeed a very momentous day in the life of our city. During this ceremony, His Eminence commented on the preparations for and benefits of WYD08 and the legacy it left to the church in Sydney.

We spoke about the forthcoming trip to Rome with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Bishop Umbers, to present the bid for Sydney to host the International Eucharistic Congress in 2028, 100 years from the previous International Eucharistic Congress in Sydney in 1928.

He was very excited and pleased about this bid and that Sydney was once again leading an opportunity for Catholics in Sydney, Australia and around the world to come together and celebrate their faith.

It was a great privilege to have been in Rome to be present at this wonderful celebration of Cardinal Pells life and his wonderful work.

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