Saturday, August 8, 2009

MacKillop centenary

MacKillop sainthood almost certain: Pell

Australia's highest ranking catholic Cardinal George Pell has urged the Pope to make Mary MacKillop the country's first saint. Cardinal Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, told a eucharist service on Saturday at St Mary's Church, North Sydney, celebrating the centenary of MacKillop's death that her sainthood was almost "completely certain". But with the Vatican in summer recess, the thousands of worshippers who watched the service, either in the church or on a big screen at nearby Sydney Oval, will have to wait at least a few more weeks for confirmation of the title.

"Pope John Paul II declared her blessed in 1995 which is one stage short of her being proclaimed officially a saint," Cardinal Pell told the service. "It's almost completely certain she will be become our first publicly recognised Australian saint and we hope Pope Benedict will make the declaration soon."

The service was one of a number being held across Australia on Saturday celebrating the life of Mary MacKillop. Born in Melbourne in 1852, she co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph and is held in high regard across the globe for her work helping those in need. She is particularly recognised for setting up schools in South Australia and her work with indigenous populations. MacKillop carried out her work despite significant personal hardship, not least a brief excommunication by the church said to be caused by a misunderstanding over her beliefs. She was also expelled for a short time from Adelaide by senior bishops within the church.

Cardinal Pell admitted the church at the time had treated her "disgracefully" but said she had not lapsed into "bitterness". "This community needs its home-grown heroes and local models to encourage us in the right direction," Cardinal Pell told the service. "We need blessed Mary as a guide. We know Australians are good but some can be very good."

MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 meaning the Vatican verified her first miracle of healing a woman with terminal leukaemia. A second miracle said to be carried out by MacKillop which would confirm sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican.

MacKillop mass hears of sainthood hope

By Miles Godfrey | August 08, 2009

Article from: Australian Associated Press
CELEBRATIONS of the life of Mary MacKillop have begun across Australia amid overwhelming support and an increasing certainty of her becoming the country's first saint.

The centenary of MacKillop's death, marked in services across the globe, have come too soon to coincide with Rome's possible confirmation of MacKillop's rise to sainthood.

But there was little doubt among the 300 people who crammed into Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in North Sydney for a morning mass service that the Pope would soon announce the decision.

Father Graeme Malone asked those who managed to get a seat inside the chapel to give thanks for the life of MacKillop, who died on August 8, 1909 after a life dedicated to the Church and those suffering hardship.

A large crowd gathered outside the chapel while the service was conducted.

"Blessed Mary MacKillop is certainly not exclusively Australia's iconic Catholic figure. But she remains a beacon of not just the universal Church but indeed the whole world," Fr Malone told the congregation.

"In conclusion, it seems that long before the time of Mary's death at 9am on this day 100 years ago, a great many people had already begun to grasp the tremendous significance of her life and her extraordinary influence after her death."

Fr Malone quoted a former archbishop of Sydney who helped MacKillop as she lay dying: "I consider this day I have assisted at the death bed of a saint".

The congregation in Sydney took Holy Communion and said prayers before filing past the tomb where MacKillop's remains are interred.

Pope Benedict XVI visited the tomb in July 2008, a visit seen by many as a major step forward in the recognition of MacKillop as a saint. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited the tomb in February 2009.

A second mass, at 11am (AEST) on Saturday at North Sydney's St Mary's Church, was expected to attract crowds of more than 8000. The service was to be shown on big screens at nearby North Sydney Oval.

MacKillop was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995. This means the Vatican verified her first miracle of healing a woman of terminal leukaemia. Her case for a second miracle of healing a woman with inoperable cancer is before the Vatican for consideration.

There was speculation the sainthood could be announced to coincide with the centenary celebrations. However, that appears to be unlikely with the official line at MacKillop Memorial Chapel being that the matter will be resolved in "God's own time".

ABC Catholics remember centenary of MacKillop's death

About 1,700 people have attended a public mass in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral on the 100th anniversary of Sister Mary MacKillop's death.

Commemorations have been held across the country, including in the South Australian town of Penola where the sister began her work setting up schools in 1866.

Sister Marion Gambin says the work of Sister MacKillop is still relevant today.

"She's certainly become more and more famous in the last few months because they associate that with the miracles," she said.

"But it's the person that she was that we want people really to get to know. Because of that, many people see her as a model and someone who they can base their own life on."

No saint?

Church leaders say they do not expect the Pope to announce Sister MacKillop's canonisation today.

The cause for the sainthood of the Catholic Sister is nearing completion in Rome, but Sister Gambin says there is slim chance of it happening today.

"We don't know when the actual announcement will be made, we know that there's still processes that have to happen before the Pope will actually make that announcement," she said.

"There's still other steps that need to go through. It's not likely to happen."

News Links:
MacKillop centenary: Thousands remember legacy
Patron Saint of Trouble Makers
Australia marks Mary MacKillop's Death
Australia waits for Saint Mary MacKillop

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