SYDNEY, Australia, OCT. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Reflecting on the canonization last week of Australia’s first saint, Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, said it was “heart warming” to see St. Mary MacKillop’s image hanging in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
On Sunday, the cardinal gave a short report of the event, which gathered some 8,000 Australians in Rome for the canonization Mass of the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and that many other pilgrims came from such places as New Zealand, Scotland, Peru and East Timor, where the sisters of St. Joseph are now working.
At that same Mass, the Pope also canonized Stanislaw Soltys (Poland), André Bessette (Canada), Cándida María de Jesús Cipitria y Barriola (Spain), Giulia Salzano (Italy), and Battista Camilla Varano (Italy).
Cardinal Pell welcomed the “the widespread approval in the general Australian community,” and in particular the “bipartisan parliamentary delegation led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Opposition Leader which came to Rome.”
He also praised Tim Fischer, the first full-time Australian ambassador to the Holy See, for not only attending all the events, but also for organizing “a number of successful celebrations.”
The cardinal noted that “Kanga Two” — a caravan of support to provide help and information to Australians — was stationed in front of St. Peter’s, and that the Australian embassy was very helpful in resolving problems of the pilgrims.
“I heard of one broken leg and 14 stolen or lost passports, which was a good result for the numbers involved,” he added.
On Monday, some 5,000 Australians gathered in St. Paul Outside the Walls for a Mass of Thanksgiving. Cardinal Pell explained that the location was chosen for the “uniquely Australian celebration” both for its size and for its “ancient links with the English speaking world.”
“Before the Reformation the Catholic kings of England were honorary canons of the basilica, which is now the traditional setting for ecumenical services,” he explained.
At that Mass, Sister Maria Casey, the postulator for the cause of Mary MacKillop, stated that “great things happened in Rome” on the day of Mary MacKillop’s canonization. She added that great things also happened in “Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, the United States, East Timor, Peru and other places.”
“She’s no longer just our Australian saint,” the sister of St. Joseph added. “She’s a saint for the whole world.”
In his homily, Cardinal Pell noted that Australians are “delighted and grateful” for the canonization of their first native-born saint.
Reflecting on the life of Mary MacKillop, the archbishop of Sydney noted that “whatever she did she did in the name of the Lord Jesus, and she set her heart first of all on God’s Kingdom and his saving justice. It was this faith that motivated her service and motivated the great number of women who joined her.”
“St. Mary of the Cross is one of us,” he affirmed, “a child of a free and open society. Her voice is an Australian voice, the voice of a great woman that Australians can recognize as one of their own.”
Cardinal Pell said St. MacKillop is an inspiration for all Australians, especially with regard to her teachings on forgiveness, helping others, and fortitude in the face of difficulties. “These teachings speak to women and to men, well beyond our shores and in all ages,” he said.
“Australia isn’t a perfect country,” Cardinal Pell said, “but the blessings that God has bestowed on us have been blessings in abundance. Now he has raised up from among us St. Mary of the Cross to be our first saint.”