On Saturday evening, the concluding day of the first week of the Synod on Synodality, delegates, facilitators and theologians from Oceania gathered to pray, debrief and share a meal together.
The evening began with Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, held in the chapel of Domus Australia, which enjoys her patronage under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii.
The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and concelebrated by other bishops and clergy from Oceania participating in the synod.
Archbishop Fisher officially welcomed all the delegates to “my place, your place,” the home away from home for Australian Catholics visiting Rome.
In his homily, Bishop Anthony Randazzo, President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences in Oceania, preached on the importance of the rosary in maintaining a close relationship with Christ.
Bishop Randazzo preached in both Italian and English, mindful that the Mass was also attended by regular worshippers at Domus Australia who were expecting Mass in Italian and appeared somewhat surprised at the larger gathering.
Following the Mass, Archbishop Fisher provided those who were first-time visitors to Domus Australia a guided tour of the chapel, explaining the significance of its artworks. There was then an opportunity for dinner, hosted by Archbishop Fisher on the roof terrace of Domus Australia.
Over a meal, delegates shared their experiences of the pre-synod retreat and first days of the synod in the Paul VI Hall, exchanged highlights from their time in Rome so far and excitedly swapped photos of themselves meeting the Holy Father, who was reportedly readily available to greet participants before and after the plenary sessions.
While they spoke of long days and evenings at the synod, the delegates were still keen to make the most of their time in the Eternal City, planning to use their first “day of rest” to visit some sites of pilgrimage around Rome.
The Synod sessions recommence on Monday, with the small groups beginning to focus on the Instrumentum Laboris’ first area of focus: a communion that radiates.