A hidden treasure of the Archdiocese of Sydney has quietly celebrated a major milestone serving the pastoral needs of our parish communities, with the Benedict XVI Centre at Grose Vale marking it’s 10th anniversary as the major retreat centre for the archdiocese.
Founded by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell AC, who had the vision and clarity of purpose to acquire the 16 hectares of rural land in 2008, the centre was built as a facility to support the expansion of Sydney’s retreat program.
The centre opened to guests in 2013, ahead of its official opening celebrated by the late Cardinal in 2014. Since then, it has continued to service the wider archdiocesan community.
In the past decade it has serviced not only the retreat and accommodation needs of schools within the archdiocese, but also Maitland/Newcastle, Wollongong, Broken Bay and Parramatta dioceses, along with supporting the wider Catholic religious orders and communities.
Among those attending the anniversary event were Archdiocese of Sydney Chancellor Chris Meney, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Fr Don Richardson, Sydney Catholic Schools Executive Director Tony Farley and Sydney Catholic Schools Director, Mission and Identity, Anthony Cleary.
At the event, Executive Director of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Michael Digges paid tribute to the hard working and dedicated staff at Benedict XVI, who have had to overcome no shortage of trials in the founding decade—including multiple floods, COVID-19 and bushfires.
“This 10-year anniversary milestone provides us with the opportunity to reflect both on the journey the centre has been on and also those that have helped to shape and influence the character and values that embody the vibrant, engaging, and safe environment we see today,” Mr Digges said.
Fr Don Richardson praised the thought and processes that went into creating a sanctuary that linked the magisterium of the Catholic Church and contemporary Australian life.
“The fine chapel here, the classical architecture and the art and built environment speak of the evangelical intuition of the Cardinal that our precious young people, and all who are seeking the truth, can benefit from exposure to the history and culture of the church and of the best of Christian thought,” he said.
“Not only the beauty of the surrounding nature, but the wonderful meeting of reason and faith, open us to love God and find our true purpose.”