Solemnity of Mary MacKillop

Solemnity of Mary MacKillop

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has approved a request from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference that the liturgical observance of St Mary MacKillop on 8th August be raised to the level of a solemnity. By having her feast day celebrated as the highest liturgical rank, the Church in Australia acknowledges that the story of and devotion to Mary MacKillop has a prominent place in the Catholic community and beyond.

A solemnity will mean that the Mass now includes the Gloria and Creed and three readings. Texts for the feast are available on the website of The Liturgical Commission/Documents/National Documents, or go directly to

The new first reading (sadly the reading from the book of Judith has been dropped) is I Kings 17:8-16 (The jar of meal shall not be spent).The psalm has been changed from Psalm 31 with the response Into your hands, O Lord, I entrust my spirit to Psalm 63 with response My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast. The second reading (Colossians 3:12-17) and Gospel (Matthew 6:25-34) remain the same.

It is interesting to compare the texts we have been using with the revised versions:

Current Opening Prayer
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.

New Collect
O God, source of all goodness, who have shown us in Saint Mary
a woman of faith living by the power of the Cross,
teach us, we pray, by her example to live the gospel in changing times
and to respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land.

Current Prayer over the Gifts
In your loving providence, O God,
you gather us at your holy altar on this feast of Mary MacKillop.
May the praise and thanksgiving
we offer with her and all your Church
strengthen our bonds of charity and faith.

New Prayer over the Offerings
As you gather us, O God, at your holy altar
on this feast of Saint Mary of the Cross,
grant, we pray, through her intercession,
that what we offer with praise and petition
may strengthen us all in charity and faith.

As can be clearly seen in these examples, the liturgical books have unfortunately eliminated the universally and instantly recognised name MacKillop: she is now to be known as St Mary of the Cross.

On 8th August this year, and every year, parishes around Australia will conduct special Masses to celebrate the feast of this country’s first saint.


Elizabeth Harrington