St Mary’s School Warwick pupils Jaeden Berry and Paris Milburn have been learning about Mary MacKillop before their first holy communion today.
St Mary’s School Warwick pupils Jaeden Berry and Paris Milburn have been learning about Mary MacKillop before their first holy communion today.

Pair marks special rite with saint

YEARS down the track, when Paris Milburn and Jaeden Berry are asked, “where were you when Mary MacKillop was formally recognised as Australia’s first saint?” they won’t have to think hard to answer.

Along with 80 or so other Catholics, the 11-year-olds will make their first holy communion today on – by sheer coincidence – the same weekend as the canonisation.

“It just makes it that little bit more special,” Paris said.

“It’s exciting and something we will remember forever.”

Along with the other children of St Mary’s Primary School, Paris and Jaeden celebrated this weekend’s canonisation with an assembly, where year 6 students shared what they had learned about their saint-in-waiting.

This was followed by a morning tea, where both campuses joined together and then headed to mass.

Their teacher, Jennifer Mauch, said she thought it was fundamental for the pupils to understand the importance of the event, and through their studies they had gained a good understanding of her life and what she achieved. Teacher Julie Collins said, even if they didn’t fully appreciate it now, the children who were receiving communion at the weekend would look back and appreciate how lucky they were that such a monumental part of their life had coincided with this amazing moment in history.

Local priest Father Jamie Collins will be in Rome on the ground this weekend to witness the momentous occasion for himself and represent the Rose City. He is leading a tour group of 45 people from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Mary MacKillop will be canonised tomorrow when Pope Benedict XVI performs a ceremony at the Vatican.

With the ceremony starting about 9am, Italian time, extensive live TV coverage will be aired in Australia from around 5pm on ABC News 24, or can be viewed on the internet at http://www.marymackillop.org.au/canonisation/live/index.html.

Locally there will be a sausage sizzle and cake after the 6pm mass today on the lawn adjacent to the church, and a cake and morning tea at Assisi Place after the 8.30am mass tomorrow.

Mary facts

  • MacKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
  • She was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1871, allegedly for reporting child abuse. The excommunication order was removed five months later.
  • The Vatican accepted that it was by Mother Mary’s intercession that the life of a middle-aged Australian woman had been saved from terminal cancer.
  • That had followed the declaration of her first miracle in 1993 when it agreed that a woman had been cured of leukaemia in 1961.

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