MacKillop Cross Inspires Students in South Australia Before Continuing Its Journey

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 Sep 2010

MacKillop Cross with Youngsters from Sacred Heart Parish Primary, Broken Hill
Picture Courtesy Barrier Daily Truth

Students at Caritas College in Port Augusta, SA, were so inspired by being able to see and pray beside the MacKillop Cross this week that they decided to hold a special fundraiser to help the flood victims of Pakistan.

More than $500 was raised from a coin collection and the sale of cakes and goodies during recess and the college's lunch hour.

Held on the same day the Knights of the Southern Cross carried the MacKillop Cross into Port Augusta, making a special trip to the school which was founded by the Sisters of St Joseph in 1871, the students say devoting the day to helping victims of the Pakistan disaster was the sort of thing Mary MacKillop would have done.

"She was the one who inspired us," a student in year 6 explained.

After spending the weekend at the historic St Ignatius Church in Adelaide, the MacKillop Cross which is being carried by the Knights of the Southern Cross on a pilgrimage across South Eastern Australia in the lead up to the canonisation of Australia's first saint in Rome on Sunday 17 October, made its way to Broken Hill where it was greeted by more than 70 locals together with excited pupils from Sacred Heart Parish Primary School.

The Cross was triumphantly borne into Sacred Heart Cathedral where a special prayer service was held.

The following morning, the MacKillop Cross together with members of the NSW chapter of the Knights of the Southern Cross, headed for Nyngan and St Joseph's Primary School.

MacKillop Cross with Knights and Wives
in Broken Hill

Thrilled by the visit, the school's 138 young students had spent the morning practicing Mary MacKillop hymns in readiness for the arrival of the Cross which arrived shortly after 1 pm.

Founded by three sisters of St Joseph in 1884 and in all probability, visited several times by Blessed Mother Mary MacKillop, the school cherishes its bond with Mary MacKillop and is exceedingly proud of the great honour paid to their patron with her canonisation next month.

Leaving Nyngan late afternoon, the MacKillop Cross travelled to Dubbo where it was taken into St Brigids Catholic Church to be part of the Anointing Mass which is held on the first Thursday of every month.

Today the MacKillop Cross will continue its journey through regional NSW, arriving in Wellington mid morning before travelling on to Orange in the afternoon.

Tonight the Cross is expected to be in Orange and on Sunday will arrive in Bathurst where it will be carried into St Johns and St Michaels Cathedral to be put on display.

On Tuesday, 7 September the Cross will arrive in Newcastle where it will visit the Cathedral from 9 am until noon before travelling to the Chapel at St Joseph's Convent in Lochinvar. The MacKillop Cross will then head for Singleton where a 7 pm Mass is planned at St Patrick's Church.

The Cross is made from the original floor of the Woods-MacKillop schoolhouse in Penola. When the floor was replaced in 1985, in recognition of Mary MacKillop as patron of the Knights of the Southern Cross, the Sisters of St Joseph presented the NSW Order of the Knights with four of the timbers from the floor. Two of these measured 274.3 cm (nine feet) with the other two measuring 137.2cm each (4ft 6ins), and it was from these pieces, the Knights fashioned two Crosses which were then lovingly French polished by one of the Chapter's members.

One of the Crosses was presented to Pope John Paul II during his Open Air Mass at Randwick in 1986, while the other, dubbed the MacKillop Cross, was given to St Mary's Cathedral.

The Cross remained in the Cathedral for many years and played a key role in the Beatification ceremonies for Mary MacKillop of 1995, then late last year after it was refurbished and restored, the Knights presented the Cross to the Mother House of the Sisters of St Joseph at North Sydney.

The current pilgrimage began on 8 August, the 101st anniversary of the death of Blessed Mother Mary MacKillop and is the day which will be celebrated after her canonisation as the Feast Day of Mary of the Cross.