Kairos: Volume 21, Issue 22
By Natina GiaccoGiven the immense love that Mary MacKillop demonstrated towards all people and especially youth, it was appropriate that a party of 110 people representing the Victorian Catholic educational community made the pilgrimage to attend the canonisation of Australia’s first saint in Rome on 17 October. The group included students from Catholic secondary colleges in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Victorian dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst, accompanied by a small group of teachers.What a privilege and blessing it was to attend the canonisation of ‘our Mary’. All who attended this Eucharistic celebration with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI comprehended the reality that we are part of the “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. Going to Rome reminded us of the universal Church to which we belong. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s presence among us was evident everywhere we went. Rome was alive and vibrant and St Peter’s Square resonated with the chanting and the cheering of the words, “St Mary MacKillop”!The day after St Mary’s canonisation, we all attended a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Church of St Paul’s Outside the Walls. It was a predominantly Australian event, as the main celebrant was Cardinal George Pell, with other Australian bishops concelebrating. Many Sisters of St Joseph were part of the mainly Australian congregation, which joyfully sang and praised Almighty God for his gift to us of St Mary of the Cross.Notwithstanding that Mary MacKillop embodied and epitomised a woman who professed and manifested the essence of Christianity, it was gratifying to see that this humble woman of the Beatitudes attracted Australia’s political leaders to Rome for her canonisation. These included Tim Fisher, Kevin Rudd, Julie Bishop and Barnaby Joyce.This pilgrimage and St Mary MacKillop’s spirit have left an indelible mark on all our lives. Our thanks go to Director of Catholic Education in Melbourne, Stephen Elder for his inspiration in deciding that this pilgrimage of young students should occur. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to Rosalie Jones, also of the Catholic Education Office in Melbourne, for all her hard work and great humour in organising this wonderful pilgrimage. May St Mary of the Cross, intercede for us all! Natina Giacco is a teacher at Mazenod College.