October 20, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The pope made his way across Rome, to visit and bless a new pilgrimage center, called the Domus Australia.
The ceremony began in the facility's Chapel, where a select group of guests waited for the pope. He blessed the entrance and later said, the purpose of the center is not only to house visitors. More than anything, he said, it's a way for families to strengthen their faith. Benedict XVI“There are two things that children should receive from their parents: roots and wings. From our holy Mother, the Church, we too receive both roots and wings.”
The choir of St. Mary's Cathedral sung throughout the ceremony. The singers may be young, but the choir is the oldest continuing choir in Australia, dating back to 1818. They all traveled from Sydney to Rome specifically for the opening.
The center includes 32 modern rooms, a conference hall and plenty of religious and cultural information. Mass in English will be held every day in the facility's Chapel of St. Peter. Benedict XVI“Pilgrims in Rome should always feel at home here, and the Domus Australia will play an important part in creating a home for Australian pilgrims in the city of the Apostles.”
The pope also blessed the courtyard, where a plaque honored his visit. The Domus Australia began under the direction of the Archdiocese of Sydney, with support from all Australian bishops.
During the ceremony, the pope recalled the warm welcome he received back in 2008, when World Youth Day was held in Sydney. He also made note of Mary MacKillop, who last year became the first Australian saint.
The pope says, he hopes this center will serve as a type of tool that will deepen the faith and spirituality of Australians.