Annual Archdiocesan pilgrimage in Eden honours St Mary MacKillop
On the weekend, Archbishop Christopher Prowse led pilgrims on a journey to remember Australia’s First Saint Mary of the Cross, MacKillop and her love for the coastal town of Eden and its people.
Around the headland, Archbishop Prowse shared details about the death of Mary’s mother, Flora MacDonald, remarking that Flora’s body seemed unravaged by the rocks and the rough seas.
“She was found with her arms across her chest, her devotional scapula visible, and the townspeople knew her instantly … Flora was indeed a saintly woman herself.”
Those participating in the pilgrimage prayed the Rosary remembering the tragic shipwreck Ly-ee Moon, the loss of Flora MacDonald and the mission that started on the shores of Eden by Australia’s first Saint around 1886.
The walk concluded at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, where Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Prowse, Fr Adrian (Bega) and Fr Tran (Narooma) and Fr Jorge (Moruya), with Eden’s parish priest, Fr George Ogah on leave.
The Pambula Parish Pastoral Council organised the pilgrimage.
One of the many highlights of the Mass was the singing and piano played by MacKillop College students in Canberra, led by their teacher Henry South. The MacKillop and Lumen Christi Catholic College students also participated in the liturgy, with school leaders Danny Li and Christina Giannis speaking about Mary’s enduring legacy.
Archbishop Prowse gave a rousing sermon, reflecting on World Youth Day 2023, encouraging participants to open their lives and hearts to providence, just like Saint Mary, especially in the year of the Holy Spirit.
He urged everyone to walk together in the Holy Spirit and warned against parochialism. “Be courageous!” he said. “There is a movement towards a secular society. We’ve got many resources to help you get more involved in the church; let’s talk and listen to each other; change will come.”
Sister Marie Carson gave a timely and pertinent message towards the end of Mass about what she believed Mary would say to us today, living in these troubled times.
“Be calm, full of hope and do what you can,” she said.
Mass was followed by a barbecue in the sun, with everyone enjoying the sea views, connecting with and meeting new people.
The night before the walk and Mass, Sister Marie and Lumen Christi teacher and local historian John Liston ran a discussion with Mackillop Students in the Mary Mackillop Museum. Sister Marie talked about being a Josephite Sister and how it has changed throughout the years but how Mary’s enduring mission continues.
John Liston talked about how Mary came to be in the area, her mission with education and the starting of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (in the very building they were standing in – now the museum).
The weekend concluded with Mass in Merimbula on Sunday, where local students received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Very fitting for the Year of the Holy Spirit.