Your Parish Saint
There is an old saying that: “All people smile in the same language.” Anyone who has travelled can confirm that. A lot of people who had little to smile about in the latter half of the 19th Century in rural Australia began to smile because of the presence and because of the dream of a courageous young woman – Mary MacKillop.
Mary is one of Australia’s national treasures. More than half a century before women were allowed to vote, at a time when there was no compulsory education, when poverty was rife, when religious discrimination was widespread, when the plight of the Aboriginal people was deplorable, when unemployment was commonplace and communication and travel extremely difficult, Mary saw the needs and wanted to bring about changes – which she did through her good works, her educational initiatives and her establishment of homes for the poor, orphanages and refuges.
It is no wonder that five years ago St Mary of the Cross MacKillop (1842–1909) became our first Australian Saint. And it makes perfect sense to name our parish, the newest Catholic parish in Australia, in honour of Mary.
Mary constantly travelled Australia by horse, coach, steamer, ship, train and on foot in supporting families and communities, and gathered others to join her in her work. What better saint to accompany us as we pray, share and celebrate together in this growing area of South West Sydney, exploring together new ways to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Peter Ingham, in his homily marking St Mary’s canonisation in 2010, asked: “How can we embrace all of the people Mary reached out to in a spirit of hospitality and inclusion?”
As we support each other in our new parish, may we remind ourselves of Mary MacKillop’s presence with us and treat others with the same compassion, imagining her accompanying us as we travel our neighbourhoods, being a face of welcome and encouragement to
Together, inspired by Mary MacKillop, may we make our parish a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey and a centre of constant missionary outreach.
May we take up the challenge of St Mary MacKillop: “Never see a need without doing something about it.”
St Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
St Justin, pray for us.
St Benedict, pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, pray for us.