File photo of Archbishop Gallagher   (AFP or licensors)

By Devin Watkins

Nov 7 2023

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher embarks on a six-day visit to Australia to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia-Holy See diplomatic relations.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Australia.

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, departs on Saturday for a visit to Australia to commemorate this milestone.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, the Secretariat of State announced the Archbishop’s visit, which takes place on 4-10 November.

Programme for six-day visit

Archbishop Gallagher kicks off his visit with the celebration of Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Sunday.

He is scheduled to remain in Sydney on Monday to teach a course at the Australian Catholic University, meet with the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and hold an encounter with the Eastern Churches Council of Australia.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Gallagher travels to the capital, Canberra, where he will be welcomed to the Apostolic Nunciature.

His programme for Wednesday includes a meeting with Don Farrell, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; and, David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia.

On Thursday, Archbishop Gallagher heads to Melbourne for a meeting with the Aboriginal Community and Mass with local clergy at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

On Friday, he meets with Foreign Minister Penny Wong and then teaches a course at Notre Dame University in Perth.

Celebrating strong diplomatic ties

Approximately 20 percent of Australia’s population identified as Catholic in the 2021 census.

According to the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Archbishop Gallagher’s visit aims to recognize the strong ties between the Holy See and Australia, as well as the Catholic Church’s contributions to national and international issues, particularly in advocating for peace and dialogue in conflict zones. – Vatican News