Catholic schools celebrate St Mary of the Cross


Catholic Education St Mary of the Cross News Story
St Joseph's Primary Schofields Principal with Blue Mountains artist Amanda McPaul-Brown's 'The Gift of Hope'.

Schools across the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta - including 18 with close links to Australia's first Saint and the Sisters of St Joseph - have joined in the celebrations of the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

With St Mary such a key figure in the history of many schools in the Diocese, each school’s celebration provided an opportunity for staff and students to learn more about Mary’s life and legacy in a meaningful way.

The day after the Canonisation, Mary MacKillop Primary in South Penrith and St Nicholas of Myra Primary in Penrith commemorated with a special Mass celebrated by Parish Priest, Fr Chris De Souza. Both schools were founded by the Josephite Sisters and Mary MacKillop personally visited St Nicholas of Myra Primary, which was the first Josephite school established in the Parramatta Diocese (1852).

After the Mass, students from Mary MacKillop Primary held fundraising activities to assist disadvantaged communities in Penrith, East Timor and Wilcannia. Some students spent the afternoon packing stationery items that were donated by students.

Other students from the school prepared slices for local charity, Penrith Kitchen, to distribute to people in need in the local Penrith community.

Putting the values of St Mary into action

Catholic Education Parramatta Mary MacKillop News Story
Little angels...students celebrate Mary MacKillop's Canonisation.
Mary MacKillop Primary’s Principal, Anne Corrigan, said her school’s celebrations were reflective of Mary’s mission to help those in need.

"We wanted to give students the chance to put the values of St Mary of the Cross into action at a local, national and international level," Anne said.

"We wanted this special day to encourage the students not just to think about themselves, but to think about others."

St Joseph's Primary in Schofields, meanwhile, held a morning liturgy to unveil a specially-commissioned painting of Mary MacKillop.

The artwork, titled 'The Gift of Hope', was created by Blue Mountains artist, Amanda McPaul-Brown, and depicts a young Mary MacKillop with an Irish boy, an Aboriginal boy and a Chinese migrant. As part of the liturgy, Amanda spoke about the process of completing her artwork, which included speaking to local Josephite Sisters about their knowledge of St Mary of the Cross.

St Joseph’s Religious Education Coordinator, Jan Van der Walle, said the artwork is an exciting addition to the school, which was founded by the Josephites.

"The painting will be displayed in the new foyer of our school and will serve as an ongoing reminder to staff and students of the school's foundations and Mary MacKillop’s mission to help others,’ said Jan.

Students from Holy Family Primary in Emerton celebrated Mary MacKillop's Canonisation by visiting Mary’s tomb at the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in North Sydney.

Holy Family’s Principal, Sr Brenda Kennedy, said the visit helped bring to life St Mary MacKillop’s legacy for students.

"Our students have spent many months learning about Mary MacKillop. The visit to North Sydney provided our students with the opportunity to experience, first hand, a significant place of pilgrimage to reflect on Mary’s life and legacy," Sr Brenda said.

On Sunday 31 October, representatives of schools and parishes across the Diocese will gather for the Diocese's Canonisation Celebration Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Blacktown.

The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher OP, who also attended the Canonisation in Rome.

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