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Mass at Domus Australia missing a favourite son

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Cutting the cake: Deacon Andrew Kwiatkowski, Cardinal George Pell, Rector Fr Robert Hayes and Domus General Manager Fabrizio Petrocchi. Photo: Domus Australia
Cutting the cake: Deacon Andrew Kwiatkowski, Cardinal George Pell, Rector Fr Robert Hayes and Domus General Manager Fabrizio Petrocchi. Photo: Domus Australia

Domus Australia honoured Cardinal George Pell’s legacy last week with special celebrations marking our national day.

Mass was held in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Peter Chanel, followed by a typically Aussie reception complete with Vegemite sandwiches, lamingtons and meat pies.

Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, and Australia’s Ambassador to Italy, Margaret Twomey, attended the festivities along with priests, religious sisters, brothers, seminarians and lay faithful living in Rome.

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Domus Australia rector Fr Bob Hayes stepped in to celebrate the Mass, originally to be conducted by the Cardinal prior to his passing.

Fr Bob said it was always a highlight for the popular prelate to celebrate the January 26 Mass at Domus, as the Aussie hotel was his “dream that became a reality”.

Australian clergy concelebrate Mass for Australia Day on 26 January at Domus Australia in Rome. The Mass had been celebrated by Cardinal George Pell for many years, with the chief celebrant this year being Domus Rector Fr Robert Hayes following the cardinal’s death on 10 January. Photo: Couresty Domus Australia
Australian clergy concelebrate Mass for Australia Day on 26 January at Domus Australia in Rome. The Mass had been celebrated by Cardinal George Pell for many years, with the chief celebrant this year being Domus Rector Fr Robert Hayes following the cardinal’s death on 10 January. Photo: Couresty Domus Australia

“The Cardinal loved Domus as it was his planning that saw a pilgrim hotel for Australians coming to Rome being established,” he said. “It was always a very special place for him because he regarded Australians having a place to call home here as very important.

“While we are saddened at his leaving us too soon, we pray that he now enjoys life with his Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Officially blessed and opened in Rome a decade ago by Pope Benedict XVI, Domus Australia has become a popular destination where “tourists can become pilgrims” Originally purchased by the Australian Church in 2008 from the Marist Fathers and following extensive renovations, Domus Australia was officially opened in October 2011.

Over the past 10 years, Domus Australia has been home to over 46,000 pilgrims from all over the world including North to South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

It has hosted guests during major events in the life of the Church such as World Youth Days, the Ad Limina of the Australian Bishops, as well as bringing a little bit of Australia to Rome each year, as it commemorates ANZAC Day and Australia Day.

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