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Cross marks Mary MacKillop feast day


A 2.7m high cross made from the floorboards of the first school established by Mary MacKillop in Penola will be the centrepiece of the feast day Mass for Australia’s first saint at Kensington on August 8.

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Constructed by the Penola branch of the Knights of the Southern Cross in 1986, the cross has been travelling around the Archdiocese as part of a pilgrimage marking the centenary of the Knights in South Australia.

It is one of two crosses made by the Knights, the first of which was presented to Pope John Paul II during his outdoor Mass at Randwick Racecourse 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 part of the centenary pilgrimage, the cross has been made available for veneration and prayer in 13 parishes in the Adelaide Archdiocese, with more to follow after the Kensington stop.

Because of its size, the cross has been transported from parish to parish by KSC State deputy chair David Lloyd in a hearse provided by Blackwell Funerals, which also sponsored printed leaflets.

“It’s been quite the logistical exercise,” said Mr Lloyd, a member of the Dernancourt branch.

“But all the parishes have been very pleased to be part of the pilgrimage.”

The cross will leave the Kensington chapel on August 12 for Rosary Church, Prospect, where it will remain until August 19.

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Meanwhile, as Australians prepare to celebrate the feast of their only saint, Pope Francis has reflected on Mary MacKillop’s “apostolic zeal” and praised her desire to bring Christ and education to the Aboriginal peoples of rural Australia.

At his final General Audience in St Peter’s Square before a month-long summer break, Pope Francis focused on the life and example of St Mary MacKillop (1842-1909).

Pope Francis said Mary MacKillop believed she was sent “to spread the Good News and invite others to encounter the living Christ”.

She read the signs of her times and felt drawn to establish schools to spread the Gospel through Catholic education.

The “apostolic zeal” of Mary MacKillop also led her to open various houses of charity, starting with the House of Providence in Adelaide to welcome both young and elderly people who had been abandoned.

“One essential characteristic of her zeal for the Gospel was her desire to care for the poor and marginalised,” Pope Francis continued.

“This pushed her to go where others refused or were unable to go.”

Pope Francis said Mary nurtured a special trust in God’s providence amid the myriad financial and organisational problems she had to confront each day. She learned to “love the cross of Christ” and found her own way to respond to the needs of her times.

“Despite the many problems she kept her calm and carried her cross patiently as an essential part of her mission,” he told the crowd in St Peter’s Square.

“May her efforts to form young people inspire us today and may her intercession sustain the daily work of parents, teachers, catechists, and all educators, carried out for the good of young people and a future that is more humane and full of hope.”

The feast of St Mary MacKillop will be celebrated with Mass at St Joseph’s Chapel Kensington on Tuesday August 8 at 10am, followed by refreshments in the Bethany centre.

In Penola, the feast day Mass will be held at 9.15am, followed by a cuppa at the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre.

The feast day will also be celebrated in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Adelaide, at 9am, 12.10pm (sung) and 5.45pm Mass.


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