Australian Embassy
Holy See
Holy See

2017 Events

Commemorating ANZAC Day 2017

On 25 April 2017, Australians, New Zealanders, Turkish, Italians and many others gathered at the Rome War Cemetery (pictured), maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to pay their respects at a ceremony led by New Zealand on the 102nd anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli and, later, at a commemorative mass, followed by a reception at Domus Australia.  Further information on ANZAC Day is available here.


8 April 2017 - Gathering of the ANZAC community in Rome 

In the company of over thirty others, the Australian Embassy's Madonna Noonan (left) practices lamington diplomacy with Carol Antram da Rin (centre) and Sr Vivienne Goldstein SM (right) at the monthly ANZAC gathering of religious and friends at the Official Residence of the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See on 8 April 2017.



3 April 2017 - Australian representatives attend briefing on the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development

With HE Melissa Hitchman (Australian Ambassador to the Holy See), Australian representatives Sr Mary Leahy RSJ (Regional Coordinator Apostolate of the Sea Archdiocese of Sydney, on the left) and Professor Anne Cummins (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Australian Catholic University, on the right) met with His Eminence Cardinal Peter K A Turkson (Prefect for the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, centre) during a briefing on the genesis and perspectives of the Dicastery and 50th Anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Popularum Progresso on 3 April 2017 at the Vatican.

29-30 March 2017 - Attending the Global Heads of Mission Meeting and briefing future Ambassadors at St Clare’s College Canberra?


HE Melissa Hitchman – pictured in photo 1 with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and colleagues – attended the Global Heads of Mission Meeting (GHOMM) on 27-29 March 2017.  Heads of Mission contributed to the formulation of the Foreign Policy White Paper due for release later this year.  The Meeting also marked the thirtieth anniversary of the amalgamation of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Following GHOMM, Ambassador Hitchman visited St Clare’s College on 30 March 2017 and spoke to senior students on the theme 'St Clare's to St Peter's'.  She discussed cooperation between the Australian Embassy and the Holy See on issues such as human trafficking and modern slavery, indigenous and gender empowerment, climate change, the sustainable development goals, and freedom of belief.  Following the briefing, she met St Clare’s College Captain Megan Phipps pictured in photo 2 far left, Year 12 (photo 2) and Year 7 (photo 3) St Clare's College students.  Reconnecting with her alma mater on the thirtieth anniversary of her acceptance into the diplomatic service, Ambassador Hitchman hopes her journey may inspire students to consider a career in diplomacy.  Perhaps a future Ambassador among those pictured?

22 March 2017 - Welcoming the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

On 22 March 2017 HE Melissa Hitchman welcomed members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) and CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, Mr Francis Sullivan, for a luncheon briefing ahead of the PCPM's meetings at the Holy See over subsequent days. Clockwise: Baroness Sheila Hollins, Mr Francis Sullivan, Australian Commissioner Ms Kathleen McCormack AM, British Embassy to the Holy See Deputy Head of Mission Mr Steve Townsend, New Zealand Commissioner Mr Bill Kilgallon, Commission Secretary Monsignor Robert Oliver, Pontifical Gregorian University Vice-Rector and Centre for Child Protection President Fr Hans Zollner and Ambassador Hitchman. Both Australians presented to the Commission.

8 March 2017 - International Women's Day - # BeBoldforChange

On the occasion of the 106th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the Australian Embassies to the Holy See and to Italy hosted a seminar in which women shared their experiences of being bold in their chosen field.  The Embassies invited a panel of three guest speakers:  Pontifical Gregorian University Centre for Child Protection Executive Director Prof Dr Karlijn Demasure (right) presented on the protection of minors, relevant to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  International Union of Superiors General (UISG) Executive Secretary Sr Patricia Murray ibvm (centre) addressed development in conflict zones, where many of the UISG’s sisters work, Australians among them.  Project Futures’ Founder Ms Stephanie Lorenzo (left) spoke of her own and Australia’s broader efforts to end Human Trafficking and Slavery.  Both Ambassadors commented on their own respective experiences as a woman in leadership and a male champion for change.  The seminar included a robust Q&A.  Around 100 women and men attended, drawn from both Diplomatic Corps, the Curia and Italian government, the Australian religious and lay communities, international organisations and local media.  Guests also enjoyed an opportunity for networking and further dialogue at the morning tea following the seminar.

5 February 2017 - Australian seminarians studying at the North American College


HE Melissa Hitchman, Dr Adrian Hitchman and family, accompanied by Deputy Alison Edye, were hosted by Australian seminarians at the Pontifical North American College for mass, brunch and a tour of the college on 5 February 2017.

3 February 2017 - We welcome PNG's first Cardinal

His Eminence Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC KBE, Papua New Guinea's first Cardinal (second from left), visited the Australian Residence on 3 February 2017. He was accompanied by Australians Fr Ben Fleming MSC (Vicar-General of Port Morseby, left) and Fr Tony Arthur MSC (Secretary General), as well as Fr Mark McDonald (MSC Superior General) and the Holy See's Monsignor Seamus Horgan (Secretariat of State, right).


27 January 2017 - Australian FMMs active in Rome

Australian Provincial Superior Sr Linda Price FMM briefed HE Melissa Hitchman at the Franciscan Missionary of Mary Mother House on 27 January 2017. She and fellow Australians Sr Narelle Skeers FMM, a member of the FMM General Council, and Sr Kerry Scanlon FMM welcomed the Ambassador, accompanied by Dr Adrian Hitchman and Deputy Ms Alison Edye. The Australian Embassy to the Holy See thanks Sr Scanlon FMM for her work as the Contact Person of the ANZAC Group of Australian and New Zealand religious.  For further information or to register your interest in the ANZAC Group, contact Sr Kerry Scanlon at

26 January 2017 - Celebrating Australia Day with the Curia, the Corps & the Community


Domus Australia and the Australian Embassy to the Holy See welcomed a record number of guests on 26 January 2017 to celebrate Australia's National Day. Among those present were Undersecretary for Relations with States (Deputy Foreign Minister equivalent) Monsignor Antoine Camilleri (photo 1 right), Chief of Protocol Monsignor José Bettencourt (photo 1 left), Australian Catholic University's Dr Doseena Fergie (photo 2) and Guglielmo Marconi's daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, with Domus Australia's Rector Fr Terry Bell (photo 3).

21 January 2017 - Australian mature-age vocations studying at Beda College

Canon Philip Gillespie, Rector of Beda College, welcomed HE Melissa Hitchman, Dr Adrian Hitchman and Deputy Alison Edye for the Prayer for Christian Unity, followed by dinner, on 21 January 2017. The embassy guests enjoyed the company of the five Australian mature-age seminarians currently studying at Beda, together with their international co-students.


19 January 2017 - Collaborating with the Corps

HE Melissa Hitchman met HE Jonghyu Jeong Dr.iur., Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the  Holy See, on 19 January 2017 to discuss advancing mutual interests in Holy See relations, including through the Greater Asian Group of Ambassadors, chaired by HE Mehmet Paҫaci, Ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See.



10 January 2017 - Australia and the Holy See partnering for the protection of minors

The Pontifical Gregorian University's Academic Vice Rector Fr Hans Zollner SJ and Director of the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) Professor Karlijn Demasure hosted HE Melissa Hitchman and Deputy Alison Edye on 10 January 2017.  Fr Zollner, who is also President of the CCP, visited Australia in 2016, briefing Australian policy makers and abuse survivors on the Centre's work on child protection.  Accompanied by the Australian representative on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Kathleen McCormack AM, Fr Zollner also advised stakeholders of the Commission's work.

9 January 2017 - Attending the annual Papal Address to the Diplomatic Corps

His Holiness Pope Francis addressed the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See on 9 January 2017 on priorities for the year ahead: the theme was Peace and Security.

HE Melissa Hitchman, accompanied by Dr Adrian Hitchman and Deputy Alison Edye, arrived together with HE Janet Lowe, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See, non-resident from The Hague, who was in Rome for the occasion.

Ambassador Hitchman's Vatican Radio interview on the Papal Address is available here