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The new altar in the St Peter Chanel Chapel was consecrated on Sunday 16 October 2011 at the Ad Limina Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell and the Rite of the Dedication of the Altar in the presence of the Bishops of Australia, with St Mary’s Cathedral Choir singing.
Following an ancient and venerable tradition of the Church of Rome, relics of the Martyrs and Saints are enclosed inside the altar. The Domus altar now contains the relics of:
The relics are deposited beneath the altar as a mark of respect and as a symbol of the truth that the sacrifice of its members has its source in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
The relic of Saint Mary of the Cross reminds us on the date of the consecration (the eve of the First Anniversary of her Canonisation), of our First Australian Saint. The relic of Saint Peter Chanel was obtained from Saint Patrick’s, Church Hill in Sydney, the site where Catholics in a private house adored the Blessed Sacrament in the early colonial days before they enjoyed religious freedom or were permitted to have a Priest. The relics of the Vietnamese Martyrs remind us of the rich history of the Catholic Church and the diverse historical influences that have made the Church in Australia what it is today and will carry us into the future.