MacKillop Gala Dinner $1.5m success


Blessed Mary MacKillop
Blessed Mary MacKillop.
From Catholic Communications,
Sydney Archdiocese

Mary MacKillop probably would have been suprised and definitely humbled by the glittering gathering at Sydney's Town Hall on Thursday 5 August to celebrate her life and to raise funds to cover costs for the 7000 Catholics and non-Catholics who will attend her canonisation in Rome on 17 October.

More than 700 dignitaries including present and former State and Federal politicians, captains of industry and commerce and luminaries from the world of arts and entertainment joined the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell together with Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Anne Derwin, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Tim Fischer and senior members of the Church including the Archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart for the gala dinner. Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, was also in attendance.

Held in the Charles Sapsford-designed Great Hall, the evening was also attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally together with former NSW Premiers Nick Greiner and Morris Iemma and the Coalition Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

$1.5 federal pledge to Canonisation Appeal

Ms Gillard provided the big moment of the night when she announced that if re-elected, her Government would give $1.5 million to the Mary MacKillop Canonisation Appeal. Of this money, she said $550,000 would support a youth contingent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to participate in the canonisation ceremony in Rome, and to provide the production and distribution of educational materials associated with the occasion. These monies would also go towards public events scheduled to take place at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney as part of the celebrations.

Opposition Treasurer, Joe Hockey instantly responded, matching the PM's pledge, and promising that if the Coalition was elected on 21 August, the commitment to the Sisters and the Canonisation Appeal made by Ms Gillard would be honoured by his government.

Full story available at the Archdiocese of Sydney site

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