Australian Embassy
Holy See

2020-2022 Events

20 June 2022 – Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

The Australian Embassy to the Holy See hosted an event on the occasion of the visit by Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (ACSL) CEO and former Senator Dr Ursula Stephens to attend the Holy See’s International Safeguarding Conference (ISC). Dr Stephens highlighted Australia’s experience dealing with institutional child abuse at the ISC event and and shared lessons learned at a side event with the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and key Ambassadors.

14 June 2022 – WUCWO World Women’s Observatory Launch

The Australian Embassy to the Holy See was pleased to support the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) launch of its World Women’s Observatory, which was created with the aim of giving visibility to women, especially the most vulnerable, who appear “invisible” in terms of their suffering and potential. The Observatory, which will also be active in the Indo-Pacific, is designed to generate strategies on the part of the Church, civil society NGOs and States to contribute to the international agenda to improve global conditions for women, their families, communities and peoples.

8 March 2022 – International Women's Day - Jubilee Campaign

HE Ambassador Chiara Porro addressed a Human Rights Commission event hosted by the Jubilee Campaign on repealing the death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy, highlighting the plight of incarcerated women, and women on death row, many of whom are long-term survivors of gender-based violence and harsh socio-economic deprivation.

7 March 2022 - International Women's Day - Women Ambassadors Accredited to the Holy See

The Women Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See attended an event hosted by Ambassador Porro to discuss priorities going forward, from issues such as the abuse of vulnerable women and girls, to support for women working within the Vatican. The group is made up of representatives from the Philippines, Timor-Leste, EU, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Argentina, Morocco, and Ghana among others

5 March 2022 - International Women's Day - Young Women in Leadership

HE Ambassador Chiara Porro spoke about women in leadership to around thirty young female professionals and lay students from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America during an "Aussie Arvo Tea" at the Rocca Romana International Centre, which offers female students from the universities of Rome and young professionals working at the Holy See the possibility to participate in various cultural and community activities and leadership programs.

4 March 2022 – International Women’s Day - Ecumenical and Interreligious Webinar “Women, Crisis and Resilience”

The Australian Embassy to the Holy See was pleased to support the International Women’s Day Ecumenical and Interreligious webinar “Women, Crisis and Resilience” hosted by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO). The event featured the participation of key figures from different religions and remarks from various Ambassadors to the Holy See – including HE Ambassador Chiara Porro.




1 March 2022 – International Women's Day - Photographic exhibition "Nuns Healing Hearts"

The Australian Embassy to the Holy See supported the launch of a photographic exhibition at the renown MAXXI Museum in Rome, highlighting the critical role of religious sisters in the global fight against human trafficking.

23 February 2022 – Walk Free Religious Outreach on Modern Slavery

HE Ambassador Chiara Porro spoke at a conference co-hosted by Australian-based international human rights group Walk Free (founded by Australian Dr Andrew Forrest) and the Holy See’s Pontifical Gregorian University. The Australian Embassy to the Holy See also hosted a briefing by Walk Free for several Ambassadors to the Holy See and other key Holy See contacts on the Global Slavery Index (GSI). These events build on the Embassy's anti-human trafficking work over several years, cementing Australia’s credentials as a leader in the global response to modern slavery.

26 January 2022 - Australia Day

On Australia Day - when Australians celebrate our nation, from our Indigenous heritage to our multicultural character - we share with you some of the ways our Embassy has promoted what Australia stands for


16 December 2021 - Women in Synodality

The Australian Embassy to the Holy See - together with Editor in Chief of La Civilta Cattolica Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ and Georgetown University Representative in Rome Dr Debora Tonelli– organised a hybrid in person and virtual event Women in Synodality on the contribution of women in key leadership and advisory roles in the Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality 2021-2023. HE Ambassador Chiara Porro moderated the panel which included five women who have been appointed to roles in the Synod of Bishops and the Synod on Synodality: Sr Nathalie Bequart XMCJ (Undersecretary, Synod of Bishops); Sr Patricia Murray IBVM (Spirituality Commission, Synod on Synodality and Executive Secretary of the International Union of Superiors General); Sr Beatrice Faye CIC (Theological Commission, Synod on Synodality and member of the Groupe Africain de Recherche en Philosophie Interculturelle); Dr Myriam Wijlens (Consultor, Synod of Bishops and theologian and Professor of Canon Law at the University of Erfurt); and Susan Pascoe AM (Methodology Commission, Synod on Synodality and President of the Australian Council for International Development). The event was followed by around 350 participants from all over the world, and included a Q&A session with the speakers. The recording of the event is available here:


30 November 2021 - Abolition of the Death Penalty

 On Tuesday 30 November 2021, HE Ambassador Chiara Porro participated in the webinar event No Justice without Life organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio as part of the 'Cities for Life' campaign. Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and the Australian Embassy to the Holy See was pleased to partner with Sant’Egidio in a call to action for the abolition of the death penalty. HE Ambassador Chiara Porro spoke in front of the Colosseum ahead of its illumination to mark the 'Cities for Life' event.      


19 November 2021 - Tracey Rowland is awarded the Ratzinger Prize

In November 2021, Australian Professor Tracey Rowland, a theologian and Professor at the University of Notre Dame, travelled to Rome to accept the 2020 Ratzinger Prize from Pope Francis. Professor Rowland is the first Australian and only third woman to have won this prestigious prize. Following the award ceremony, Ambassador Porro hosted Professor Rowland and a group of students from Australia and New Zealand, who are currently undertaking studies at Pontifical Universities in Rome. It was an opportunity for the students to engage with an eminent theologian from our region.   



8 October 2021 – Bilateral Meeting Between Then Trade Minister the Hon Dan Tehan and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher

During his visit to Italy for the G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting 2021, then Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan visited Vatican City and met with Holy See Secretary of State, HE Archbishop Paul Gallagher, to share perspectives on a range of issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region. This was the first ministerial visit to the Vatican in several years, as a result of the pandemic. It was also an opportunity to exchange views on bilateral relations ahead of the 50th anniversary of Holy See – Australia relations in 2023.  



24 September 2021 - World Day of Migrants and Refugees - Rosemary's Way

To mark the World Day of Migrants & Refugees on Friday 24 September, HE Ambassador Chiara Porro partnered with the Australian Catholic University to host a screening of the film Rosemary’s Way. This documentary highlights the work of migrant and refugee advocate, Rosemary Kariuki, who fled alone from Kenya to Australia in 1999. Following the screening of the film, the event also included a Q&A with three guest panellists: Rosemary Kariuki, Fr. Fabio Baggio (Holy See Undersecretary for Migrants and Refugees) and former refugee the Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM (Bishop of Parramatta).         


21 September 2021 – ‘We Run Together’ with Athletica Vaticana

Sport is one of the most important means of fostering social inclusion and empowerment. Australia, being a sporting nation, is keenly aware of its potential. HE Ambassador Chiara Porro regularly engages with the Holy See sports team Athletica Vaticana and participated in their "We Run Together" initiative in September. Ambassador Porro ran in the 4x400m non-competitive relay that featured athletes of all abilities & backgrounds alongside Sr Marie-Théo, Sara Carnicelli and Sara Vargetto.

The next decade will be a “green and gold decade” for Australian sport - we will host several of the biggest international sporting events – the UCI Road World Championships and Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup in 2022, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, the Netball World Cup in 2027 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane in 2032.


12-14 September 2021 - G20 Interfaith Forum Bologna

From Sunday 12 September to Tuesday 14 September, HE Ambassador Chiara Porro attended the G20 Interfaith Forum 2021 (IF20) in Bologna, Italy. The conference brings together important dimensions of the G20 process as it examines how religion and foreign policy intersect to create a space of encounter and interfaith dialogue. This year, the theme was “A Time to Heal” and over 730 religious leaders, professionals, academics, activists and government representatives took part in the eighth annual conference.  




4-11 July 2021 - NAIDOC Week 

This year's NAIDOC Week theme is "Heal Country', and the importance of greater protections for our land, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage. Watch the video to hear from John Lochowiak, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, on his contribution as an Indigenous faith leader to a meeting organised by the Holy See on climate change.

30 June - 2 July 2021 - International Safeguarding Conference

The International Safeguarding Conference (ISC) is an annual event which brings together Church leaders, safeguarding professionals, trauma specialists and others to share knowledge and best practice in the preventing and tackling of abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 conference was a hybrid event consisting of online presentations and a final event in Rome. As in the past, the Australian Embassy to the Holy See was pleased to lend its support to the organisers of this year's conference. You can watch some of the presentations from this year's event on YouTube and learn more here.

Thursday 3 June 2021 - Sisters Empowering Women Series Webinar: "Educating for Human Flourishing"

On Thursday 3 June, the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) hosted a Sisters Empowering Women Series Webinar: "Educating for Human Flourishing," which was moderated by HE Ambassador Chiara Porro. Watch on YouTube at:

See also the pre-event interview between UISG and Ambassador Porro:



24 May 2021 -  Former Prime Minister marks Bicentenary of Catholic Education in Australia


19 May 2021 – Visit to the Vatican Observatory

HE Ambassador Chiara Porro and the Embassy team visited the Vatican Observatory in May, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the history of astronomy. Vatican Observatory Director Br Guy Consolmagno and his team shared the history of the Observatory as well its incredible library collection – including early editions of Isaac Newton’s books – and the remarkable contributions of Jesuits such as Fr Angelo Secchi, a pioneer in the field of astrophysics and probably ‘the most famous scientist you have never heard of’.

The visit was also an opportunity to discuss the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKA) which will be built in Australia. SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument. As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA will bring together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers to bring the project to fruition.


21 May 2021 - Challenges and Opportunities for Insular Peoples

On Friday 21 May 2021, the Holy See's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Anglican Centre Rome co-hosted an Island States webinar entitled "Building Fraternity; Defending Justice: Challenges and Opportunities for Insular Peoples," giving voice to Island Nations of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Australian Embassy was pleased and honoured to have been able to assist in securing a valuable contribution by Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor.


12 May 2021 - Caritas Internationalis in the Pacific

On Wednesday 12 May 2021, Caritas Internationalis and the Australian Embassy to the Holy See jointly hosted a webinar: How does integral ecology shape our work in the Pacific region? Guest speakers included HEm Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga, HE Chiara Porro, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, HE Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, Archbishop of Suva and Ms Kirsty Robertson, CEO Caritas Australia.

25 April 2021 - ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day, a day of great significance to Australians and New Zealanders, was observed in Rome with a small Commemoration Service hosted by the Embassies of New Zealand and Australia. The ceremony can still be viewed on the Facebook page of the Australian Embassy to Italy.


25 March 2021 - Caring for the Oceans

On Thursday 25 March, HE Ambassador Chiara Porro participated in the webinar: "Caring for the Oceans: A public conversation inspired by Aqua fons vitae." Organised by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in conjunction with the Ambassadors of Italy, Monaco and Australia to the Holy See, the webinar was part of a broader series of events to celebrate World Water Week.

Given the importance of oceans to Australia and in our region, the Embassy is pleased to highlight the participation of Ms Amelia Ma’afu, Director of Caritas Tonga, in representation of Caritas Oceania, and Australia's Dr Stuart Minchin, Director General of the Pacific Community.

For more information, including on other conversations inspired by Aqua fons vitae: Five public conversations inspired by Aqua fons vitae - Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development


8 March 2021 - International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day! This year we reflect on @unwomen’s global theme ‘Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’ Hear from some of the female Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See as they reflect on Pope Francis and his call for greater roles for women in Church leadership. #WomenLead #IWD2021

We celebrated #InternationalWomensDay2021 this year by hosting the webinar: “An equal future in a COVID-19 world: Champions of Change Choosing to Challenge.” Ambassador Porro moderated a panel who spoke about the winds of change and support for women in leadership within the Holy See, as encouraged by Pope Francis. An audience of over 130, drawn from the Curia, Holy See Diplomatic Corps, religious and lay communities, NGOs and media participated as Ambassador Porro challenged the panel to reflect on the changes that have occurred, and how more change can be encouraged. View the webinar in its entirety. Speeches, transcripts and English translations will soon be made available where required. Guest speakers were:
His Eminence Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops
Sr Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary, Synod of Bishops
Dr Francesca Di Giovanni, Undersecretary for the Multilateral Sector, Section for Relations with States – Holy See Secretariat of State
His Excellency Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Sr Alessandra Smerilli, Coordinator of the Economy Task-Force of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission


26 January 2021 - Australia Day

On #AustraliaDay we reflected  on and celebrated the Australian spirit, which this year we  chose to do by focusing on one of the things we Australians love - sport! With access to sport severely affected by the pandemic, we decided to partner with the Pontifical Council for Culture and Sport at the Service of Humanity (SSH) to provide sport related education packs, featuring inspiring Australian athletes, to children in the Philippines who have been unable to attend school during lockdown. SSH, a Holy See affiliated organisation promoting sport and the values of faith around the globe, was born out of the 2016 Vatican Conference: Sport at the Service of Humanity. Watch highlights from this international conference, which was held inside the Vatican in conjunction with the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee. Learn more about how the Embassy celebrated Australia Day by following HE Ambassador Chiara Porro on Twitter @AusAmbHolySee


4 December 2020 - "The Other Marys" MacKillop and Ward

On 4 December, the Australian and British Embassies to the Holy See hosted a webinar
"The Other Marys: St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and The Venerable Mary Ward"
for around 300 participants, drawn from the Roman Curia, Diplomatic Corps, Italian Government,  NGOs, academia, Australian and British diaspora and local media.

Melbourne-born Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph in the 1800s to work ‘wherever there was a need.’
Mary Ward was a sixteenth century Yorkshirewoman, born at a time of conflict for Catholics in England, who, inspired by the Society of Jesus, devoted herself to active ministry.

The two Marys were both pioneering women of their time, forging new ways for women to live the religious life. This event looked at their lives and missions, and reflected on their legacy for women today.

Read the Q&A summary and speeches by our esteemed presenters: 

Sr Maria Casey RSJ, Canon Lawyer and final Postulator of the Cause for canonization of Mary MacKillop

Sr Jane Livesey  CJ (English Province), General Superior Congregatio Jesu and Sr Noelle Corscadden ibvm, Superior General Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Loreto

Dr Katharine Massam, Academic Dean, Associate Professor of History, University of Divinity

Rev. Sr. Carmen Ros Nortes, Under-Secretary - Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life


NAIDOC Week 2020

Pope Francis speaks often about the value of indigenous knowledge. Australia's Indigenous peoples have been caring for our land for 65,000 years. Watch our NAIDOC Week video to hear Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Holy See voices.


22 October 2020 - National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse - Anniversary

On 22 October 2018, then Australia’s Prime Minister apologised to victims of child sexual abuse. He admitted we had failed to protect the most vulnerable, and acknowledged the suffering of victims. Read the National Apology at National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse text ( and view Ambassador Porro's statement here.


17 October 2020 – 10th anniversary of Mary MacKillop’s canonisation

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop was canonised in Rome on 17 October 2010, becoming Australia’s first canonised Saint. It was an unforgettable day in St Peter’s square, full of people, her followers and wellwishers from around the world. Her story is a remarkable one, which resonates even more today. From her courage and perserverance in the face of adversity, to her care and dedication to those on the margins of society, she fought the stereotype of a ‘proper sister’, focusing instead on where her efforts were most needed, and using education to fight poverty. She was not afraid to speak out, and stand for her convictions. Mary, we hope your story will continue to inspire generations in the years ahead. We have prepared this short video to mark the occasion – watch it in full here - 


27 August 2020 – Commemorating Mary MacKillop and Indigenous Australia while presenting Credentials to HH Pope Francis

On 27 August 2020, HE Ambassador Chiara Porro was pleased and honoured to meet His Holiness Pope Francis when she presented her Letters of Credence. Ambassador Porro took advantage of the occasion to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, who was canonised as Australia’s first Catholic Saint on 17 October 2010. Ambassador Porro presented His Holiness with a relic of St Mary MacKillop, a small piece of one of the habits that St Mary wore. The Ambassador also celebrated Australia’s Indigenous culture by presenting Pope Francis with a book of poetry from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth entitled ‘Homeland Calling’.