Nearly three thousand people attended Cardinal Pell's farewell Mass at St Mary's Cathedral last Thursday night, travelling from all over Sydney, the north and south coasts and interstate, reports the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Bishops and Archbishops from around Australia were there along with priests of the Archdiocese and seminarians. Community leaders and leaders of other faiths as well as politicians and government representatives filled the pews.
The Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese, Bishop Peter Comensoli - who will remain in the position until a new Archbishop is announced by the Pope - said the Mass for Sydney's eighth Archbishop reflected everyone's deep appreciation for the Cardinal's faith, vision, generosity and untiring service.
Cardinal Pell leaves for Rome shortly to take up his role as Prefect of the new Secretariat for the Economy - a new position to oversee the management of Vatican finances.
After a week when the Royal Commission seemed to dominate the media, Cardinal Pell was among friends and well wishers. During his homily he told the gathering it was a 'bittersweet experience to move on from a job that you have loved.'
However, he said: 'I go willingly and happily, well aware of at least some of the costs of parting and aware that I will be shedding one set of burdens but only for another.'
Cardinal Pell told those gathered that before he was inducted as Archbishop of Sydney in 2001, he went to pray at the tomb of then-Blessed Mary MacKillop for the spiritual wellbeing of the Archdiocese. He repeated that pilgrimage before his farewell Mass, asking the intercession of St Mary of the Cross for the continued blessing and strengthening of Catholic life in Sydney under the leadership of his successor.
Photo: Cardinal Pell with his brother Bishops and Archbishops following the Mass
FULL STORY Thousands gather for Cardinal Pell's Mass of Thanksgiving and Farewell (Archdiocese of Sydney)
WATCH: Cardinal George Pell's Apology to Victims of Abuse (Ten News/YouTube)