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Pilgrimage to honour patron saint


A pilgrimage to give thanks for the life and work of their patron saint, Mary MacKillop, will provide a fitting conclusion to the centenary celebrations of the local Knights of the Southern Cross (KSC).

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Commencing this month the pilgrimage is being undertaken with the blessing and cooperation of the Sisters of St Joseph and Archbishop Patrick O’Regan and will see the Knights transporting a 2.7m high cross to parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

The cross was one of two constructed by the Penola branch of the Knights in 1986 and is made from the narrow floorboards from the first school established by Mary in Penola. The first of the crosses was presented to Pope John Paul II during his open air Mass at Randwick in November 1986. The second was presented to Cardinal Edward Clancy, the then Archbishop of Sydney, and remained in Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral for many years.

“As St Mary of the Cross MacKillop is the patron saint of the Order this is an appropriate way to conclude our centenary celebrations,” said new KSC chair Paul Hawkes.

“This pilgrimage is the third since 1986 and the intention is that the cross will be made available for veneration and prayer in churches in most parishes in the Adelaide diocese and beyond.”

Mr Hawkes said while the focus would be on St Mary, the pilgrimage would also be an opportunity for the Knights to spread the word about the Order.

“Our main challenge continues to be membership and we really need to address that,” he said.

“Like many volunteer organisations, our membership is dropping and while we are getting new members it is not as many as we have leaving through age and ill health.

“We are currently working on a project that is being developed by the Knights nationally, so we can get the word out at Masses about the work of the Order.”

Taking over from Don Campbell as State chairman on November 5 last year, Mr Hawkes has been a member of the Para Region branch since 2000.

“My faith has been the backbone of my life and I enjoy the fellowship and charitable works of the Knights,” he said.

A member of the State Council for several years, Mr Hawkes has an intimate understanding about the history of the Order having authored the book, A Bold Story Well Proven: One Hundred Years of the Knights of the Southern Cross in South Australia to celebrate the SA centenary.

“It’s a very rich history and I was lucky that they had very good resources in terms of the minute books going back 100 years, as well as good resources in the Diocesan Archives. Also, it was during the COVID lockdowns so I had time to write the book,” he said.

A life-long love of history also influenced his post-retirement studies. After working at Thomas More, CBC, Kildare and St Paul’s colleges as a business manager/bursar, Mr Hawkes undertook a Theology degree, with honours in History. His thesis on the leadership team in the Archdiocese under Archbishop Leonard Faulkner was also published as a book.

Married to Geraldine, the Hawkes have been active members of the Salisbury parish since returning to Australia from Scotland in 1988.
Mr Hawkes is part of the administration and finance committee but his biggest contribution to the parish is serving as the curator of the nearby Pioneer Catholic Cemetery.

With its origins in 1856, the cemetery has about 25 burials a year and provides an insight into the history of Catholic families in the Salisbury area, he said.


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