Giving Thanks for Saint Mary MacKillop

Giving Thanks for Saint Mary MacKillop

With Mary MacKillop’s canonisation taking place in Rome, parish communities all around Australia will today (Sunday 17th October) celebrate the Feast of Mary MacKillop.
On the day following the canonisation, pilgrims in Rome will gather for Mass at St Paul’s Outside the Walls to praise God in thanksgiving for the life of Saint Mary MacKillop. The readings and prayers for that Mass will be those set down for her feast day, in other words, the same texts used by Australian Catholics on the day of her canonisation. They include these lovely prayers:
“Holy God, source of all goodness, you show us in Mary MacKillop a woman of faith who lived by the power of the cross. Teach us to embrace what she pioneered: new ways of living the gospel that respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land.” (Opening Prayer Feast)

“Through the example of Mary MacKillop, may you learn to recognise God's will for you and trust in God's providence. May her life of service awaken in you a deep respect for the poor and a passion for justice. May you share in her courage, see with her vision, and love with her heart.” (Solemn Blessing)

The music selected for the Thanksgiving Mass will be well known to most readers:

Procession: Christ Be Our Light Bernadette Farrell
Mass Setting: Mass Shalom Colin Smith
Psalm: Ps 103 Christopher Willcock setting
Communion Procession: Ubi Caritas Jacques Berthier
Eat This Bread Jacques Berthier
If I Could Tell the Love of God Noel Rowe/ Christopher Willcock
Recessional: From Penola’s Plains Michael Herry/ Geoffrey Cox /Gustav Holst

Our celebration of liturgy has implications for the way we live our lives. Those who gather to share the Body of Christ are sent forth to be the Body of Christ in their homes, families, neighbourhoods, places of work, social gatherings, sporting club, etc. Having honoured and celebrated Saint Mary MacKillop this weekend, we might ask ourselves:
· How can we, as Church and nation, appreciate and celebrate canonisation as a gift of Spirit to us all?
· How can we embrace all of Mary’s people in a spirit of hospitality and inclusivity - people from other lands, from our own land, our indigenous peoples, those of other faiths?
· How might we celebrate the gift of religious life to the Church and the world at this time?
· How can the youth of our countries be set free to carry the good news of the gospel to the poor and disadvantaged of our world?
· What aspect of her life can I embody so that, together, we can be a living portrait of her in our world?
Mary MacKillop reflected the Gospel Christ, living the essence of love. We are called to a conversion of heart so that we, like her, can make a difference in our world. Through the intercession of Mary MacKillop, may this time of her canonisation be a source of renewal of faith for the people of God.


Elizabeth Harrington