Continued Thanksgiving for St Mary of the Cross MacKillop November 2010

Hastings, a Parish with close and enduring ties to the Sisters of St Joseph celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for St Mary MacKillop on Sunday 14 November.   
The day of Canonisation had already been marked with a joyous Mass on 17 October, but this celebration had several reasons to further celebrate.  The occasional sermon at the Mass was from two Hastings born pilgrims to Rome, Sisters Marlene Dunn and Lucille Taylor, and a newly renovated Parish School Hall was blessed and re-opened.
The entrance procession with Parish Priest Fr Simon Storey and Fr Pat McCann sm, included local and visiting Sisters of St Joseph in their teal scarves, and Sisters were also involved in the Offertory Procession. 


Following the sharing of their experiences in Rome, Marlene invited the Sisters to sing the Hebrew Blessing for the Congregation.  Children from the school presented a simple liturgical movement after Communion.
Joyous jazz music, a packed church, and the involvement of many made this a special occasion for all who attended, and was tribute to the many friends and former pupils of the Sisters.


The blessing of the newly renovated hall at the school took place immediately after the Mass.  The acting Principal of St Joseph’s School, Mrs Sandra O’Connor, accepted a picture of St Mary MacKillop from the Sisters. Then it was time to look around the school and share in morning tea and much reminiscing.

Diocesan Celebrations of Thanksgiving

On November 1st, several Whanganui Josephites joined the Central Josephite Sisters in the Sacred Heart Basilica in Wellington where Archbishop John Dew presided at the Mass in a full basilica.  He spoke of his experience of attending the Canonisation in Rome, and how his pilgrimage in Spain had prepared him for the occasion.


Shown are Whanganui Sisters who participated in the liturgy - Josepha and Marie Roche who prepared the altar, and Kate Ryan participating in the procession of Gifts.  Catherine Shelton was a Minister of the Eucharist.

Yvonne Munro attended the celebrations in Arrowtown in the South Island on 6/7 November in the place Mary MacKillop spent considerable time in on her journeys.  The commemorations began on Saturday 6th, when pilgrims gathered outside the museum and went together to visit many of the places of interest connected to the early Sisters. At Mary MacKillop Cottage there was a re-enactment of the school classes as taught by the sisters in the time that Mary was there. 
This was followed by a social afternoon outside St Patrick's Cottage where the guests of honour were the Sisters of St Joseph.  The sisters later gathered  at the local Dominican home to talk and share stories.
On Sunday 7 November, the many guests and clergy from Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist  faiths gathered outside St Patrick's at 10.30am.  A textile banner made by an Associate of the Sisters depicting Mother Mary was inscribed with her words: "Remember we are but travellers here."
The local Highland Pipe Band, in honour of St Mary's Scottish heritage, led a procession from St Patrick's to the Arrowtown  Hall, where Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Dunedin, the Most Rev Colin Campbell.   At the conclusion of Mass the gathering enjoyed lunch together.

Whanganui Sisters who had close associations with Auckland were present there for the Mass in St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Cathedral on 13 November.  A large number of teal-scarved Josephites stood out in the full church.  The Mass began with a rousing karanga, and Father Peter Tipene spoke of his experience of leading a pilgrimage to the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross.  He emphasized the influence that Mary had on New Zealand for the past 130 years. 


A notable feature of this Auckland celebration was having Josephites from every Federation branch and every Central Josephite Province of Australia and New Zealand in attendance.

On 20 November Temuka turned on a beautiful South Island day for the joyful celebrations outside in the spacious grounds of St Joseph’s school.   Representing the Whanganui Josephites were  Marlene Dunn, Yvonne Munro and Adrienne Smith.


The day began with a procession of the Sisters of St Joseph to Mass followed by a blessing of the new heritage room where an icon of St Mary of the Cross is a focal point.   A picnic atmosphere pervaded during lunch where choices of food were available at various stalls dotted around the grounds.

Christchurch  - Diocese celebrated on 21 November and began with Prayers at Barbados Street Cemetery at John MacKillop’s gravesite.  Jill McLoughlin rsj recalled how John, Mary’s younger brother, died from injuries received from a horse- riding accident at the age of 22 while living in New Zealand.   Through this memorial the Christchurch community had come to treasure this connection with Mary’s family.
The threat of rain did not deter the 20 or so pilgrims before they followed a lone piper on foot for the 10 minute walk to St Mary’s in Manchester Street for the Mass of Thanksgiving.  Children from a number of schools joined the entrance procession and the Sisters as guests of honour were led to the front pews by the lone piper.


Yvonne Munro rsj, MarleneDunn rsj and Josephite Associate Adrienne Smith are shown with the red gum sculpture done by Guy Detot.  The wood is from Penola Station where Mary worked as a governess.
The formal liturgy presided by Bishop Barry Jones and the Marist Priests of the parish concluded with afternoon tea in the Church foyer. From the buzz in the crowd afterwards many Sisters enjoyed another opportunity to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. 

The final November celebration was in Rotorua for the Hamilton Diocesan celebration on 28 November.  In the early afternoon the Sisters gathered at St Michael’s Church where Mary would have worshipped during her time in the town.  This was a time of quiet reflection and prayer as they prepared to celebrate in Thanksgiving for St Mary of the Cross MacKillop –  Rotorua banners call her ‘Our Saint”. 
The Mass was held at John Paul College and the large crowd filled the gymnasium.  Bishop Dennis Browne presided, accompanied by many local clergy.  Sisters of St Joseph from various other areas processed in to rousing music and singing.  The multi-cultural nature of the congregation was highlighted in the opening powhiri and the processing of the Gospels in by Pacifica students from the College.  Symbols were solemnly carried in by the Sisters and placed beside the altar – the Constitutions of the Sisters of St Joseph, a statue of St Joseph, and a kete for the three baskets of knowledge.


At the conclusion of the Mass, there was an opportunity for conversation and afternoon tea with relatives and former pupils of the Sisters.

More photos of these celebrations in GALLERY
Further accounts of celebrations on

Gallery / Whakaahua

Members Login