Catholic Youth Parramatta

Australia's WYD connection rekindled at Mary MacKillop Canonisation Vigil


WYD Cross at Echo Point Blue Mountains 2008
The World Youth Day Cross at the Blue Mountain's Echo Point, as it made its way through the Diocese on Parramatta en route to WYD 2008.
Australia’s World Youth Day connection will be rekindled the night before the canonisation of Australia's first saint, when the original WYD Cross forms a central prayer focus at the Vigil Liturgy in Rome to celebrate the life of Blessed Mary MacKillop.

The Vigil Celebration of the Life of Mary MacKillop will take place in Rome on Saturday 16 October, ahead of the Canonisation Ceremony on 17 October.

Many Australians will have fond memories of their encounter with the travelling version of the WYD Cross as it visited local communities during the lead-up to the Sydney WYD in 2008.

The cross and all that it stands for, touched peoples' hearts as it visited civic receptions, schools, indigenous communities, immigration centres, prisons, beaches, the bush and desert communities.

The first place that the WYD Cross visited when it arrived in Australia was the tomb of Mary MacKillop at North Sydney. The tomb was also a popular place of pilgrimage for those who travelled to Australia for World Youth Day.

Sr Carmel Pilcher rsj, a member of the Liturgy Committee for the Canonisation Working Party, said the idea of using the WYD Cross for the Vigil Liturgy in Rome came to her when the committee agreed that it would focus on 'Mary of the Cross'.

"I thought it would be wonderful if we could link our 'journey' to Rome with the cross that lay on Mary's tomb," Sr Carmel said. "I also knew that we would have to find a cross of similar dimensions to have any impact in a large auditorium.”

Sr Carmel said that the 'travelling' WYD Cross has already gone to Spain in preparation for the Madrid WYD, but the original WYD Cross no longer travels and is a fixture in a church in Rome very close to the Auditorium Conciliazione, where the Vigil will be held.

Thanks to Sr Maria Casey rsj, Postulator for the Cause of Canonisation of Mary MacKillop, permission was gained to borrow the cross for the Vigil.

Sr Carmel said the WYD Cross would be a powerful prayer focus in celebrating Mary MacKillop, for whom the cross was such a central part of her life and spirituality.

"It is my hope to have a group of people representing many nations and ages who will physically gather around the cross," she said.

Share Your Mary MacKillop Story

Do you have a story of how Mary MacKillop Story has touched your life? The Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is inviting Parishioners to share their Mary MacKillop stories, ahead of her canonisation.

To find out how, go to 'Share Your Mary MacKillop Story' on the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta site.

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