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Irish College reception follows Bishops' John Lateran Mass

Australia's Bishops have celebrated Mass at St John Lateran Church, which is regarded as the oldest and first among the four great patriarchal basilicas of Rome.

Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart was the principal celebrant at the Mass in the ancient Church which dates back to the Emperor Constantine in the early 300s and has been destroyed and rebuilt many times.

In his homily, Archbishop Doyle spoke of the wonderful insights to be gained from looking at things from different perspectives.

The Basilica of St John Lateran was an example of the need to look beyond the surface, he said.

"Although this Basilica of St John Lateran is not the most attractive of the four Roman Basilicas, it has a history which goes back to the 4th Century AD and from that time on, it has been a place of great significance in the life of the Church," he said.

"Many councils have taken place on this site - nine of lesser importance from 649 to 1116 and then five truly ecumenical councils, of which the 4th Lateran Council was considered to be the most important of all councils prior to the Council of Trent.

"As our days of pilgrimage come to an end, may we live with the full picture in view.

"May we look from above and not just from ground level and may we be strengthened in our own belief in the power and gentleness of God as we take up again the mission to be 'ministers of hope'."

The Mass was attended by a small congregation of Australian priests, religious and lay people who live and work in Rome.

Following Mass, the Bishops held a reception for the Australians in Rome at the Irish College, where they received a warm welcome from Dublin Archbishop Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Earlier, various Bishops attended meetings with Vatican congregations for Laity, Culture, Cor Unum, and Justice and Peace.

Today's Mass was the last of the big public Masses to be celebrated by the Australian Bishops during their ad limina visit.

The five-yearly ad limina pilgrimage is expected to conclude with a general audience with Pope John Paul II tomorrow.

PICTURED: At the Irish College reception, Archbishop Francis Carroll catches up with Fr Julian Wellspring, one of his Canberra-Goulburn priests in Rome studying for his PhD.

Bishops host reception for Australians in Rome following John Lateran Mass (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 24/3/04)

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Australian bishops set for ad limina visit to Rome (CathNews 8/3/04)
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25 Mar 2004