Parish Prayer for the Canonisation

Parish Prayer for the Canonisation

With the general focus of the Australian community as a whole being on Mary MacKillop’s canonisation taking place in Rome on 17th October, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has decided that this year the Feast of Saint Mary MacKillop will be observed on Sunday 17th October, displacing the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. As diocesan patron, her feast was also observed in the Archdiocese of Brisbane on 8th August.

Three celebrations will be held in Rome: a Vigil on Saturday 16th October, the canonisation itself at St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday 17th October and a Mass of Thanksgiving on Monday 18th October.
It is customary for pilgrims who have come to Rome to gather on the eve of a canonisation to celebrate the life of the holy one. The Vigil Liturgy will be preceded by a concert using multimedia, drama, song and performance to depict the life of Mary MacKillop. Students from Australian Catholic University will play a key role in the presentation.
The focus of the Vigil liturgy will be on Mary, woman of the Cross and the Word. The celebration will involve the sound of the didgeridoo and the presence of the original World Youth Day cross to remind us that Mary chose the title ‘Mary of the Cross’.

The interplay of Scripture and the writings of Mary MacKillop will reflect Mary MacKillop’s spirituality which was strongly founded on the Word of God:

If you want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up the cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it; and those who lose their life for my sake will save it (Luke 9: 24).

The Cross is my portion – it is also my sweet rest and support. I could not be happy without my cross – I would not lay it down for all the world could give. With the Cross I am happy, but without it would be lost (Letter to her mother, February 26, 1872).

A special Novena of Prayer has been developed for use in parishes, schools, communities and small groups to assist people in their spiritual preparation for the canonisation of Mary MacKillop. It may be used in the nine days prior to canonisation or in any other appropriate way in preparation for this event. The nine reflections are based on themes related to Mary MacKillop's Life:

Mary MacKillop - Faithful Religious Woman
Mary MacKillop - Advocate for the poor
Mary MacKillop - Teacher and Educator
Mary MacKillop - Model for Pilgrims seeking Christ
Mary MacKillop - Living by the power of the Cross
Mary MacKillop - A woman of the Church
Mary MacKillop - Proclaiming the Gospel
Mary MacKillop - With an openness to other faith traditions
Mary MacKillop - Inspiring people to work for peace and justice

The Novena and other resources to support times for prayer in parishes are available on the website of the Sisters of St Joseph (

As pilgrims journey to Rome for the canonisation of Mary MacKillop, it is an opportunity for the faithful across Australia to be united in prayer and celebration. Through the intercession of Mary MacKillop, may this time of prayer, reflection and celebration be a source of renewal of faith for the people of God.

Elizabeth Harrington