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Bishop honours promise to take detainees' message to Pope

Port Pirie Bishop Eugene Hurley yesterday fulfilled a promise he made to detainees at South Australia's Baxter detention centre to convey their love and prayers directly to Pope John Paul II.

Before leaving for Rome for the Australian bishops' ad limina pilgrimage, Bishop Hurley received the requests during various pastoral visits he has made to both the Woomera and Baxter detention centres, which lie in his diocese.

He said he found his private audience with the Pope to be "an awesome experience".

"I had the opportunity to bring the love and prayers of all in my diocese to the Holy Father and to receive his Blessing for the diocese," Bishop Hurley said.

"I spoke to the Pope about life in our diocese and how it is being shaped by His two Apostolic Letters which are the basis for our Strategic Plan.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to speak to him about our families, our young people and our special challenges.

"I also honoured a promise I made to the detainees in Baxter, by conveying their love and prayers to the Holy Father and asking his blessing for them and their families."

Australia's Bishops are continuing their ad limina program of visits to various Vatican organisations, including the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Vatican Secretary State Section.

They marked St Patrick's Day with a morning Mass in which they particularly remembered the Australian dioceses of which St Patrick is patron. The principal celebrant of the Mass was the Irish-born Bishop Jeremiah Coffey of Sale.

Bishop honours promise to take message of love from Baxter detainees to the Pope (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 17/3/04)

Australian Bishops concelebrate Mass before St Peter's tomb (CathNews 17/3/04)
Australian Bishops Begin Visit to Rome (Zenit 15/3/04)
John Paul II Sees Hope for Church in Netherlands (Zenit 15/3/04)
Bishops gather for spiritual pilgrimage (Southern Cross Mar 04)
Pope raises refugee question with Hobart archbishop (CathNews 16/3/04)
Audiences (Vatican Information Service 15/3/04)
Ad limina visit underway with Italian TV appearance (CathNews 16/3/04)
Australian bishops set for ad limina visit to Rome (CathNews 8/3/04)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Bishops welcome release of detention centre children (CathNews 26/8/03)
Bishop to push Govt on asylum seekers in Catholic schools (CathNews 19/11/02)

18 Mar 2004