Flying start: pilgrims make headlines on path to Rome


The Sheehan Family being interviewed for Ten News
Parramatta Canonisation pilgirms - and distant relatives of Mary MacKillop - the Sheehan family being interviewed by Amber Muir for last night's Ten News.

Pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta are making their way to Rome for the historic Canonisation of Australia's first Saint - and making headlines along the way.

The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, has featured in the Daily Telegraph and been interviewed about Blessed Mary MacKillop's 17 October Canonisation by Sky News.

Among the pilgrims from Parramatta who will also be in Rome for the Canonisation are distant relatives of Mary MacKillop, the Sheehan family from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and Primary School in St Marys.

Twelve-year-old Brandon Sheehan (sixth cousin of Mary MacKillop) has been selected to join 45 representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta to make the pilgrimage to Rome. Brandon's link to Blessed Mary comes from his father Mark's side of the family. Mark's 92-year-old grandmother, Elma Davidson, whose grandmother was Mary’s cousin, is the oldest living relative of Mary.

The Sheehans were interviewed by Ten News for last night's TV news bulletin. Mark told Ten News journalist Amber Muir that while the Sheehans carried its connection to Blessed Mary with a 'quiet pride', it was an honour to be representing the family, Brandon and Kiana's school and the community at her Canonisation.

The Sheehans inspiring story has also be covered locally by the Penrith Star and the Mt Druitt St Marys Standard.

Brandon is one of two local students who will represent the Diocese on the pilgrimage, the second being Laura Wonson from St Nicholas of Myra Primary in Penrith. The Parramatta pilgrims fly out to Rome tonight.

Learn more about the Sheehans' road to Rome

Learn more about Laura Wonson's road to Rome

A match made by Mary Mackillop

Adrian Thompson and Eun Jung Kim
Soulmates...Adrian Thompson and Eun Jung Kim.
Also winging their way to Rome and into the news are Mary MacKillop 'soulmates' Adrian Thompson and Eun Jung Kim from Josephite Community Aid in Seven Hills.

Adrian and Eun Jung, who first met while working at Mary MacKillop Outreach in Lewisham in 2005 and married at North Sydney’s Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in 2008, are being sponsored by the Sisters of St Joseph to accompany an Australian youth contingent to Rome.

The couple appeared in last Saturday's Daily Telegraph in the newspaper's Canonisation liftout.

"I often feel like I owe Mary MacKillop everything. We hold Mary MacKillop very dear to our hearts," Adrian told the Daily Telegraph.

Adrian and Eun Jung's story has also been covered locally in The Parramatta Holroyd Sun.

Also from the Parramatta Diocese and being sponsored by the Sisters of St Joseph to attend the Canonisation is Margaret Farrell from Aboriginal Catholic Social Services.

Learn more about Adrian and Eun Jung's road to Rome

Learn more about Margaret Farrell's road to Rome

Flying nuns

Among the 39 Sisters of St Joseph who flew out to Rome yesterday was Sr Merlyn Brown RSJ, Pastoral Associate with Corpus Christi Parish in Cranebrook.

Sr Merlyn was interviewed at Sydney Airport for this morning's Daily Telegraph.

"It's a bit overwhelming," Sr Merlyn told the Daily Telegraph. "But it will be amazing because Mary was such a good person and touched so many people."

The power of prayer

The moment of Mary's Canonisation has also raised awareness of the vast number of people with special Mary MacKillop stories to share - including St John Vianney Doonside Parishioner Mary Ann Matulis.

Mary Ann, who has four of her five children living with autism, told last weekend's Sun-Herald of the power of praying to Blessed Mary.

Learn more about Mary Ann Matulis' Mary MacKillop Story

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