Melbourne celebrates Mary MacKillop's birthplace

To celebrate the historic Canonisation of Australia’s First Saint, Blessed Mary MacKillop, in Rome on October 17th, 2010, Melburnians will join the Sisters of St Joseph, together with the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, in the city where Mary was born.

A 10,000 strong crowd is expected to take part in local celebrations on Sunday 17th October, commencing at 11am with a celebratory mass at St Patrick's Cathedral East Melbourne, conducted by Bishop Peter Elliott.

Celebrations will continue with a colourful, vibrant street procession from MacKillop's birthplace in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. This procession, led by the Sisters of St Joseph, will see over 1,500 people take part, including local parishes, school groups and other community groups.

Once the street procession arrives at the Royal Exhibition Building and Gardens, there will be an official welcome, including a ‘welcome to country’, followed by a festival in the gardens.

Consisting of three stages, the gardens will come alive with an entertaining line up of Peruvian and Irish dancers, a Sudanese Choir, Brazilian musicians, bands, a primary school musical, dance groups, and student choirs. The Sisters of St Joseph will showcase a series of storyboards telling the life of Mary MacKillop, her legacy, and the continued work of the Sisters of St Joseph today. Numerous other stalls, displaying the fine work of other social service organsations, will also be featured.

The day will conclude with a prayer service at 6pm, led by Bishop Tim Costelloe SDB and the Sisters of St Joseph, and featuring musicians and choirs from Melbourne and regional Victoria. At 7pm, the Canonisation ceremony will begin with a live broadcast inside the venue, with large screens also relaying the ceremony within the Exhibition Gardens.

All Victorians are welcome and encouraged to witness this significant part of history as we celebrate the extraordinary life of Australia’s First Saint, Mary MacKillop.

Reprinted with permission from Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

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