by NZ CATHOLIC staff
AUCKLAND — New Zealand and Oceania Catholic visitors to Rome have been invited to make use of Domus Australia, the pilgrim centre established by the Australian bishops in the eternal city.
Writing to Bishop Patrick Dunn on September 2, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney noted that a key aim in establishing the centre near Rome’s main railway station (Termini) was to “help tourists become pilgrims”.
Cardinal Pell noted the spirit and history shared by New Zealand and Australia and assured Bishop Dunn that New Zealand pilgrims would be “very welcome” at Domus Australia, where they would receive “every assistance” from staff.
Domus Australia, located in a former student house of the Marist Fathers, has undergone “substantial renovations” during the past three years. It welcomed its first pilgrims in mid-July and an official opening is planned for October during the Australian bishops’ ad limina visit to Rome.
Daily Mass is said at Domus Australia and it also offers an “information centre” so visitors can learn more of Church history and places of religious significance in Rome.
“We plan to liaise closely with the Vatican and to provide an opportunity for pilgrims to collect their tickets to various Vatican events,” Cardinal Pell wrote.
Cardinal Pell said he is writing to all the New Zealand bishops to let them know about Domus Australia, which can accommodate between 80 and 90 pilgrims.
The first Mass at the centre since the renovation work started was held on Anzac Day this year, with Wing Commander Ian Macpherson representing the New Zealand ambassador to the Holy See, George Troup.
Mr Troup was welcomed to Domus Australia recently, Cardinal Pell wrote. It is expected that a vigil Mass will be held in the Domus Australia chapel on Anzac Day each year as part of the “various commemorations” in Rome.
For more about Domus Australia, including reservations and rates, visit www.domusaustralia.org. Reservations can be made by emailing email@example.com
According to the Domus Australia website, accommodation costs range from about NZ$150 to NZ$300 a night (in low season, including the rest of 2011, depending on the type of room) to between NZ$210 to NZ$420 a night, depending on the type of room (in the high season).