Two of the eight senior Cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to advise him in the government of the universal Church and reform of the Roman Curia, announced by the Secretariat of State, on 13 April, were present at a reception hosted by the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, in Rome on Thursday, 14 March.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, and Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, co-ordinator of the new reform group of Cardinals, were guests at the special reception hosted by Ambassador John McCarthy, KCSG, to celebrate the historic announcement of the election of Pope Francis, less than 24 hours before, that had both stunned and delighted Catholics throughout the world.
Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Maradiaga, arrived at the evening reception from the Mass, “For The Church”, celebrated by Pope Francis in the Sistine Chapel with the Cardinals who had elected him during the fifth ballot of the Conclave on Wednesday, 13 March, as the first Pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit Pope, and the first Pope to take the name Francis, after St Francis of Assisi.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, speaking in perfect English, gave a brief insight into the Conclave and a beautiful cameo of the life of his friend Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, the 76-year-old Archbishop of Buenos Aires, (capital of Argentina), and ended with a prayer for him. It was a deeply moving, emotional and memorable speech from the heart which those privileged to be present will always treasure.
The reception, hosted by Ambassador John McCarthy and his wife Mrs Christine McCarthy, also marked the visit to Rome by Professor Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, who spoke about its important work.
Ambassador John McCarthy is also to be congratulated for his initiative in hosting ‘Australia’s Conclave Watch’, on Wednesday, 13 March. The invitation stated: “As the only Embassy in Rome with a direct line of sight view of the Sistine Chapel’s fabled chimney from which black/white is emitted …. “ The Australian Ambassador thoughtfully added: “BYOB – Bring Your Own Binoculars!”
The Australian Embassy to the Holy See is situated on the fifth-floor of a building at the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and has spectacular panoramic views of St Peter’s Basilica, the roof of the Sistine Chapel and the Apostolic Palace, from across the River Tiber.