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The Holy See and Australia
together for the common good

· Cardinal Parolin on 40 years of diplomatic relations ·

“The history of the 'magnificent land of Australia' has been marked by the constant endeavour of the Catholic Church to provide healthcare, education and charitable services”. And “Catholic Australians have courageously sought to be good stewards”. With these words Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, addressed those gathered late Monday afternoon, 28 April, at the Vatican for Mass on the occasione of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Australia and the centenary of the establishment of the Apostolic Delegation to the largest nation of Oceania.

In the Church of St Mary Mother of the Family, at the Governatorato, the Cardinal presided at the Eucharist Celebration, Cardinal George Pell, Secretary for the Economy, concelebrated together with: Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of Social Sciences; Bishop Peter Comensoli, Auxiliary and Apostolic Administrator of Sydney; Bishop Bosco Puthur of the Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle for Syro-Malabar faithful in Australia, Bishop Antoine Tarabay, Prefect of Saint Maron of Sydney of the Maronites; and Msgr Peter Bryan Wells, Assessor of the Secretariat of State. Australian Senator John Hogg with his wife and the Ambassador to the Holy See Mr John McCarthy, KCSG were also present.

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin urged everyone to look to the example of Australia's first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop (1842-1909), Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Beatified by Pope John Paul II on 19 January 1995 in Sydney during his Apostolic Visit in Oceania, and later canonized on 17 October 2010 in St Peter's by Benedict XVI who prayed at her grave during the World Youth Day on 17 July 2008. Through her witness -- explained the Secretary of State, -- Mary MacKillop stands as the incontrovertible witness of the role of Australian Catholics. And yet, as she “knew only too well”, he continued, “the task is never complete. There is a great deal still to be done, not only in those fields of traditional collaboration, but together facing up to new challenges, especially fostering the respect of human rights”.

“Encouraged by the road of cooperation that Australia and the Holy See have already walked together,” he concluded, “we can look to the future with confidence, seeking out those 'new ways of living together in fidelity to the Gospel'. We know that treading that path will oblige us to respond ever more generously with the gifts given to each of us as persons, and as communities.”

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