Pope sympathises with Bunbury over Cathedral loss

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his sympathy for the people of Western Australia's Bunbury Diocese on the loss of its Cathedral - St Patrick's - following the tornado that ripped through Bunbury on 16 May.

The Pope's Message was passed on to the Catholic community of Bunbury by Bishop Gerard Holohan during a farewell Liturgy of the Word in St. Mary's Church, South Bunbury yesterday. One of the largest crowds seem in St Mary's in many years was present.

A statement released by the Diocese last night describes the ceremony, which began with parishioners carrying up to the altar various religious symbols rescued from the damaged Cathedral. After the Bishop's greeting, a power point presentation recalled the Cathedral before and after the tornado (the images are also currently on display at Diocesan website - http://www.bunburycatholic.org.au). Many in the congregation were visibly moved.

Bishop Holohan told the congregation that the Pope was saddened to learn of the fate of the Cathedral. Bishop Holohan read the Pope's message, which expressed his sadness " to learn of the damage inflicted upon the Cathedral in Bunbury".

The Holy Father wished to express his spiritual closeness to all who grieve over the loss of "this sacred building". The Bishop told the Congregation that some had expressed regrets because they would not be present for the ceremony, but they were still too affected at the cathedral's loss to come.

Benedict expressed the hope "that the faithful of the Diocese will look to the future with confidence as they begin construction of their new Cathedral, a sign of their hope and trust in the Lord". The Pope's message concluded with him sending his Apostolic Blessing to all in the Dioceses.

Bishop Holohan said he was grateful for the Pope's message of prayerful support, and that yesterday's farewell had been a "moving experience for us all".

"We must now fulfil the wishes of the Holy Father and look to the future as we begin to build our new Cathedral," he said.

Meanwhile, in news from another Australian Cathedral, Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese's Catholic Voice newspaper reports that planners of its St Christopher's Cathedral precinct redevelopment are deciding how to mark the historical significance of the adjoining Haydon Centre parish hall, which is soon to be demolished.

The paper says the planners are "wrestling with the need for the project to link the social and spiritual significance of its past with the future needs of the Archdiocesan Church".

Chairman of the Cathedral precinct development committee Bishop Pat Power said the Haydon Centre did have a social significance, given its use by the Church community over many years, and the redevelopment would seek to recognise that and build on it. It would also pay tribute to the memory of Patrick Haydon, an enormously important figure in the history of the Catholic Church in Canberra.

"It is a challenge for us to ensure there is recognition of the social significance, spiritual value and history of this site as we develop it for the future," he said.

And in Rome, the crowning glory of St Peter's Basilica is set to receive a facelift. The lantern, bronze orb and cross surmounting the great dome will be cleaned and restored. Visitors over the coming summer period will see the gleaming bronze ball trapped in a sort of giant bird cage.

Pope sympathises with Bunbury (Diocese of Bunbury 26/6/05)
Cathedral project aims to build on past (Catholic Voice July 2005)
St. Peter's Face-lift; Genzano Abloom (Zenit 23/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Bunbury
Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

Storm-damaged cathedral to be demolished (CathNews 31/5/05)
Tornado-damaged Cathedral may face demolition (CathNews 23/5/05)

27 Jun 2005