Monday, October 18, 2010

Our canonisation reflection

Click here to follow a link to the Archdiocese website and you'll be able to hear exactly what we all thought and felt after the Canonisation Mass through a short audio-visual reflection. It includes lots of photos from our trip, so check it out and see who you can spot.

Witnessing the canonisation

 We arrived at the Square of St Peter’s at 8am to wait for the commencement of the Canonisation Ceremony; the liturgy by which the Church through His Holiness Benedict XVI recognized a woman, who was born in Australia, lived in Australia and was in all ways like us.

It was great to be celebrating church with the rest of the world – the Canadians, Italians, Spanish, Filipino, Estonians and Poles.

It was a very special occasion full of pomp and ceremony, but simple and dignified. It quieted our spirits as the solemnity of the occasion fell upon us. The singing was magnificent; there was an ACU student from Goulburn in the choir.

We were able to follow the liturgy in Latin through our beautifully illustrated mass books, although I do wish I could understand more Latin. And Wendy loved the Gospel being chanted in Greek as well as in Latin. I was very moved when we said the Agnus Dei – Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world have mercy on us. I knew what I was saying, I was able to see myself beside our Saint Mary of the Cross and knew I needed mercy. At that moment I was able to spiritually gather my family and friends and ask for God’s healing mercy on us, and I stood with Mary by my side asking for more.

I was very proud and touched when I saw, ascending the steps of the sanctuary, the distinctive blue scarf of the Josephite sisters taking the reliquary containing the lock of hair of Saint Mary of the Cross, set in a cross carved out of the wood from Penola, South Australia, and present it to His Holiness. Then when the Sister postulator knelt before His Holiness it brought me again to tears as I realised that this was what Mary had come to the Holy City to do, to kneel at the feet of the Pope, to approve a Rule which would allow the Sisters go where ever the need appeared greatest. 

Sister Anne D read the first reading from the Book of Exodus - ‘As long as Moses kept his hands raised up Israel had the better… Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands’, as Moses needed help to win victory so did Julian Tenison Woods need Mary and Mary needed the Sisters to help win victory for God. The Sisters are still supporting the arms of Mary to win victory and thousands of them have taken their turn.

It was such a thrill to hear His Holiness say the name of our new Australian Saint Mary of the Cross.

It brought many of us to tears when the Pope blessed us and our families.

 We all felt that back in Australia we had left part of ourselves and that we would love to have shared these moments with the family but we knew that this what we were here at the Vatican to do - to represent those people who are dear to us and a part of our lives. When His Holiness Benedict XVI explicitly included our families in his final blessing we felt that our families were with us.