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Feast of Blessed Mary MacKillop draws big crowds

“Mary MacKillop is for all of us,” Queensland provincial of the Sisters of St Joseph Sr Moya Campbell declared at the end of a rousing celebration of the life of Blessed Mary in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, last weekend.

Hundreds of people packed the cathedral to celebrate the Feast of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph, on August 8.

They were joining thousands of others around Australia and New Zealand celebrating the feast on a day that coincided with the centenary of her death at a time when speculation mounts about her looming canonisation.

At the end of Mass, Sr Campbell, surrounded by about 60 of her fellow Josephites, bishops, priests, members of other religious orders and hundreds of supporters of Mary MacKillop and her order, gave thanks “to the Queenslanders who have supported us over the years”.

“We encourage you to continue to nurture the spirit of Mary MacKillop in your local community,” she said.

“Mary MacKillop is for all of us.”

After the Mass, Sr Campbell said the Sisters of St Joseph, were very happy with the celebration and the way it had been supported by so many people.

“We had 400 here at the launch of the year (of celebrations for the centenary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop), and we thought we might get 600 (to the Mass on Mary’s feast day) but there were many more than that.”

Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane presided at the Mass, and concelebrants included Auxiliary Bishops Joseph Oudeman and Brian Finnigan and about 15 priests.

About 40 Sisters of St Joseph led the entrance procession at the start of Mass, and about 20 others, who were unable to walk in the procession, were in the congregation.

They were the Josephites of Brisbane archdiocese while the remaining sisters of the 112 of the order resident in Queensland were celebrating in other parts of the state.

Sr Campbell, in welcoming the congregation at the start of Mass, noted that “Mary had moments of conflict with one or two bishops” but thanked Archbishop Bathersby for acknowledging the holiness of the order’s founder in adopting her as the patron of the archdiocese.

Blessed Mary MacKillop was announced as the archdiocese’s patron with Vatican approval in May.

In his homily, Archbishop Bathersby referred to the message of the first reading of the day (Colossians 3:12-17) with the message to love one another and forgive one another.

The archbishop pointed to how Jesus did that as He died on the cross and prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

“How often do we pray that prayer? How often did Mary MacKillop pray that prayer throughout her life as she was confronted with problems?”

Archbishop Bathersby then referred to the call to “Set your hearts on (God’s) kingdom first …” (Matthew 6:33).

“That’s precisely what Blessed Mary MacKillop did throughout her life … How brilliantly she did that,” he said.

He said Mary MacKillop was testament that there can be nothing better than “living the faith inspite of the crosses we carry”.

“May God bless you all and may Blessed Mary MacKillop, patroness of this archdiocese, continue to be our inspiration and powerhouse of support in the years that lie ahead.”
Released by The Catholic Leader

August 15, 2009

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