On Tuesday, 19 December 2000, the Mary of the Cross Centre was blessed by Archbishop George Pell as both he and John Thwaites, Minister of Health and Community Services in the Victorian Government, participated in the official opening of a new drug counselling and rehabilitation service.
This initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is the outcome of the work of a taskforce that had been established to propose recommendations for a Catholic response to the grave problem of drug abuse in Australia.
The Centre will be run by a Board under the chairmanship of Ivan Deveson, who was the chairman of the original Taskforce, while the Centre's Director is Fr Peter Hansen. The Centre will provide counselling services for drug addicts and their families and work in collaboration with the adjacent services provided by St Vincent's Hospital and Turning Point.
The services will be free, open to all members of the community, and in time will seek to provide Respite Care for families. It proposes also to raise sufficient money to open a residential rehabilitation facility for the longer term care of drug addicts.
A support group, known as Friends of Mary of the Cross Centre is chaired by Richard Stone. The contact number is (03) 94956144.