February 12, 2011.
Australians are often known to be a wander-lust group. It seems wherever you are in the world a group of Aussies are not far away. The Catholic Church of Australia is busy constructing a home for these travelers who may be passing through Rome. Sydney's Arbishop George Pell hopes it will serve them as a home away from home.Cardinal George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney
“The Domus Australia will be an Australian pilgrim center where all Australians, all visitors will be welcome and we hope to perhaps move them from being tourists to pilgrims, to strengthen their faith and learn more about the Christian story, the Catholic story.”
The center will be open to all travelers, not just Australians, who might want to a taste of Australian culture such as their famous breakfast they call “brekky” with toast and Vegemite.
The Domus Australia will undergo what Cardinal Pell calls a “Stress Test” as pilgrims pass through Rome on their way to Madrid for World Youth Day in August. Cardinal George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney
“There will also be an information center for people who are not staying here, especially on Australian news, it will help with papal audiences and we hope that it will become also an Australian cultural center as well as religious center.”
The chapel will include important figures to the Catholic history of Australia, such as the island's first saint, Mary MacKillop, and other figures like Mother Teresa and John Paul II.
Like most construction jobs in Rome, the progress can be slow, because as soon as excavation begins there is often ancient artifacts laying just below the surface. Once the construction has been completed, the artifacts will be placed on display.Chiara Scandaletti
Assistant Architect, Domus Australia
“We have a lot of work and a lot of difficulties due to the archeological excavation work that we have to carry out.From the 1st century, it's the Roman age, and it was very interesting.”
The Domus Australia is planning to officially open it's doors to the public in October. It is expected to become a landmark for all Australian pilgrims in the future.