Vatican visit by UNDA a great success

02 July 2019

The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Chancellor, the Hon. Chris Ellison, and Vice Chancellor elect, Professor Francis Campbell, made a historic visit to Rome recently to meet with Vatican officials and Australian Bishops.

The rare opportunity was made possible by ‘Ad Limina’, an event that takes Bishops from around the world to Rome every five years to visit the tombs of Saint Peter and Paul and meet the Pope where they provide a report on their dioceses.

Mr Ellison had a series of meetings with high-level personnel at the Vatican, including Father Wojciech Giertych OP (Theologian to the Papal Household) and His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with the States).

He also made a special visit to the Australian Embassy of the Holy See to meet with Her Excellency, Ms Melissa Hitchman, Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See.

A highlight of the visit was a meeting between Mr Ellison and Pope Francis at the Papal Audience on Wednesday 26 June, when the Holy Father gave a blessing to the University.

Mr Ellison said that the visit had been a very successful one in promoting engagement by Notre Dame with the Vatican and also meeting with Bishops during the Ad Limina conference.  Mr Ellison and Professor Campbell met with the Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Rev Robert Epping CSC (the religious community that oversees Notre Dame in Indiana).

In addition, Mr Ellison and Professor Campbell attended a series of meetings with senior personnel including His Eminence, Cardinal Peter Turkson (Prefect of the Dicastery of Promoting Integral Human Development), His Eminence, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi (Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education) and Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani (Secretary to the Congregation for Catholic Education, Titular Archbishop of Volturnum).

During the visit, Mr Ellison and Professor Campbell attended a Mass with the Australian Bishops at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, which they found to be a deeply moving experience, especially the prayers around the tomb of St Paul.

As a result of the visit, a number of positive initiatives will be looked at by the University, Mr Ellison said.  From what he had seen, Mr Ellison also said the Ad Limina conference was a great success.

Photo: L to R: Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chris Ellison, Francis Campbell, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB

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