One of the State’s largest and longest running religious festivals, the colourful procession began at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden and proceeded along King William Street to Victoria Square for the prayer service.
Showers in the morning didn’t deter people from joining in the first Marian Procession to be held in the heart of the city. Participants recited the Rosary as they marched behind banners and members of migrant communities wore traditional costumes.
More than $7100 was donated to Caritas Australia during the event.
Fr Christopher Maher OFM Cap delivered the reflection on the theme of this year’s procession, the Feast of the Visitation.
Fr Maher recalled walking up the path to the Church of the Visitation in Jerusalem almost 12 years ago.
“Having later joined the Capuchin friars, you may think that I knew what I was doing there: I did not,” he said.
“After having little interest in World Youth Day Sydney and missing it, three years later I was attending World Youth Day in Madrid and, thanks be to God, our pilgrimage group travelled through the Holy Land before arriving in Spain.
“When we arrived at the Church of the Visitation, I saw a word. It seemed familiar, Catholic, but I didn’t know what it meant. That word was ‘Magnificat’. This ignorance of mine is quite interesting, because for the past eight years I have prayed the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Church, the Divine Office.”
Fr Maher said on his return to Australia it didn’t take long for the image of our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth embracing each other to become one of his favourites.
Family tradition lives on
“When I pray the rosary and announce a mystery, a certain feeling comes, depending on the mystery,” he said.
“The second joyful mystery is one of comfort and excitement. There is a purity and simplicity which is so refreshing in this troubled world, and Mary is on the move with our Lord.”
He concluded his reflection encouraging those attending to “keep moving with our Lord”.
“Our Lord was with Mary, in her womb, and on the Feast of the Ascension, we rejoice in His presence throughout the world, particularly in the Holy Eucharist and today, where two or more are gathered,” he said.
“Mary still had a challenging journey ahead of her and so do we. However, not only do we celebrate the Lord’s presence, but He also offered His mother to become our mother, to be our help on the journey. And Mary would tell you: ‘Listen to Him’.”
View the reflection in its entirety here.