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Honouring our saint on sacred ground

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The small St Joseph’s Chapel at Kensington was not at capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions but the spirit of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop spilled over to more than 3000 people who watched her feast day Mass online.

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Celebrated by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, who expressed his “great delight” at being in a place that he had heard so much about, the Mass on August 8 was attended mainly by local Sisters of St Joseph and viewed by their fellow Sisters throughout Australia and New Zealand.

After a joyful rendition of the Mary MacKillop hymn Woman for today, a welcome to country was given by John Lochowiak from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry which previously worshipped in a former school established by Mary in Pirie St.

“She taught there, and every day we went there we would feel like her spirit was still there giving us strength,” Mr Lochowiak said.

Sr Brigette Sipa, CentreWest regional leader, said St Joseph’s chapel was a special place, sacred to St Mary MacKillop’s memory and all those Sisters who had prayed there since 1876.

“Today is an opportunity to remember how Mary MacKillop responded to life experiences which called forth a deeper relationship with others and with her God,” she said.

“We are encouraged to do the same – to be tender to our family members, friends and colleagues, to serve, to advocate and work for justice, especially for those who are pushed to the margins of our society, and to care for the earth.”

In his homily, Archbishop O’Regan spoke of Mary’s deep trust in God and God’s care for her and those around her.

She lived by the words ‘do not be afraid’ and got others around her to trust in God’s providence, he said.

Sr Mary Ryan, who featured in a video about the new Mary MacKillop Museum prior to the Mass, said the response to the livestreaming had been overwhelmingly positive.

Among the messages of gratitude on social media was that of a viewer from England: ‘Thank you for enabling me here in England where my parish priest first brought me to know Mary as she was not then canonised and we have her picture in our church. Through Mary’s intercession a member of my family was healed. Thank you for today.’

 

 

 

 

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