Sunday, October 17, 2010

Honouring our Mary MacKillop

This evening we attended the Vigil Celebration at the Conciliazione Auditorium, led by Bishop Philip Wilson.
It was absolutely wonderful. I was held in a magnificent Auditorium packed with Aussies. We were so proud to be there honouring our Mary MacKillop.

The actors, musicians and singer from the Australian Catholic University were superb. Ms Megan Hancock as Mary MacKillop portrayed her life’s journey. Several times I was brought to tears, especially when they read from Isaiah – the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

A very appreciative audience.

The rendition of Waltzing Matilda at the end of the concert was wonderful. It was sung in different languages, with the choruses in English. The didgeridoo player was great too.
The whole evening was joyful, professional, very sensitive and very moving.

Our Visit to the Catacombs of Rome

Ascending from the Catacombs

Michelle: I found the catacombs to be quite a touching and profound experience. This was a place in which the early Christians came to say Mass and celebrate their faith away from the reach of those who were persecuting them. What conviction, faith and courage! There was literally nothing that could keep them from practicing their faith – not even the fear of death… If that’s not inspiring I don’t know what is!

Shirley came on pilgrimage alone but has made so many wonderful travelling companions who are supporting and caring for each other.

Shirley Topp and Dr Ellen Lawler- Stack

Shirley was so proud of herself as she was unsure how she would cope going through narrow tunnels under the ground. The hour tour flew by and she found it so amazing that nothing would have kept her from experiencing this extraordinary witness of faith by the early Christians. She says she is growing each day. As we ascended from the Catacombs it was like we were coming in to the new life of the Resurrection – we were singing Shine Jesus Shine.   

For Shirley, Archbishop Mark has been such a wonderful spiritual guide and leader. He has such a calming effect on the bus. He brings us to a spiritual quiet, reflective place each morning as we set out for the day's pilgrimage in prayer, and in the evening. She loves the many insights into Roman culture and the history of the Church which he shares. She also enjoys his quick wit.
This is a most beautiful Sculpture of St Cecilia -
Catacombe San Callisto Statua Santa Cecilia

There is a buzz - make that a loud din of anticipation

At breakfast this morning Colin Groves met Michael, Joe and Jill Pervadello. Michael and Jill's daughter Natalie is performing at the special presentation: “Vigil Celebration of Mary’s Life” this evening - Saturday.  Natalie is an ex student of Trinity Catholic College Goulburn, now at ACU in Canberra.
In our hotel there are over 600 Australian pilgrims. It's very likely you will bump into someone you know. It is most exciting.
The buzz of anticipation is mounting. As you walk down the streets of Rome Australian, New Zealanders Irish and many others are “companions on the journey – no longer stranger to each other”. We are all so proud of our Mary MacKillop. It is terrific to hear the stories from all sorts of people telling of Mary’s connection to them or their family.

Friday was the feast day of St Teresa of Avilla. Archbishop Mark related how St Teresa and Mary Mackillop had much in common. That strong women of the Church exercise charismatic leadership on which the ark of the Church floats.