Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 Oct 2010
For Catholics and non Catholics alike, Mary MacKillop's canonisation is cause for celebration and over the past 10 days, her story, her legacy and her life have dominated the news across Australia.
Her remarkable life has been documented and explored by television, radio and in newspapers and national magazines.
Last Saturday's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend devoted its cover and leading article to Mary MacKillop in a 3000 word article entitled: "Hail Mary, The Making of an Australian Saint."
The Sunday Telegraph and Sun Herald have also run special features while Sydney's Daily Telegraph has been running centre double page spreads each day not only on Mary MacKillop's life but on the Sisters of St Joseph, the Order she co-founded, the miracles attributed to her and the stories of some of the thousands of Australians travelling to Rome for her canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, 17.
This outpouring of excitement has even been picked up by The Australian Women's Weekly. With a readership of 2.5 million and the oldest and most authoritative of the nation's mass market magazines, the current issue of the magazine contains a series of in depth interviews with religious sisters not only from Mary MacKillop's Josephite sisters, but also from Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor; the Missionaries of God's Love, the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia and the Discalced Carmelites.
The five page article titled: Why Women are Turning to God, was a positive and insightful exploration of the life of a religious and marked probably the first time in the magazines 77 year history that it has devoted its pages to such an in depth feature on this subject.
For weeks the print media has printed stories about how Mary MacKillop co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, her hard scrabble upbringing, the first school she established in Penola, SA and her ex-communication by South Australia's Bishop Sheil, and its rescinding a short time later prior to her first trip to Rome.
There have even been Question and Answer quizzes on Australia's first saint printed in the Sunday papers and wide coverage of events such as the Mary MacKillop stamps issued by the Australia Post and the gold and silver Mary MacKillop coins struck in her honour by the Perth Mint.
Television, however, has been the main focus of the excitement about the sanctification of Mary MacKillop with Foxtel's devoting an entire channel to extensive news and stories about her and her path to sainthood from today, 15 October. In addition to the interviews and round the clock coverage on Foxtel's dedicated Mary MacKillop channel on APAC's 648 channel, Foxtel's SKY News national affairs correspondent, Celina Edmonds will cover the lead up to the canonisation as well as the canonisation itself from Rome.
Celina will bring SKY views extensive interviews with leading figures from the Church and Australian pilgrims in Rome for the canonisation. Then on Sunday 17 October SKY News will offer live coverage of the canonisation ceremony from 4 pm AEDT ahead of its coverage of the Feast Day of Mary MacKillop Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney from 5 pm, after which the broadcaster will crossing live to Rome to cover the canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter's Square.
Foxtel's History Channel will also screen an encore presentation of its groundbreaking acclaimed doco-drama, BLESSED MARY: A Saint for All Australians on Sunday night. Hosted by Alan Jones and featuring insightful interviews with the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, the special dramatises the significant events that shaped Mary MacKillop and her work and brings her vividly to life.
On the ABC1, the country's national televsion broadcaster, there will be live inserts into regular news bulletins on Sunday, 17 October and at 10.10 pm Compass will present a Canonisation Special from the Vatican hosted by Geraldine Doogue.
While the ABC1 will not televise the canonisation life, live coverage of the canonisation ceremony will be available on its new high definition 24 hour news channel, News24 as well as on ABC's News Radio from 6pm. The canonisation in Rome's St Peter's Square will also be available on 7TWO, Seven's high definition alternative channel which will present a News Special on the historic ceremony from 6.30 pm on Sunday, 17 October.
While none of the free to air networks such as Seven, Nine or 10 will feature a live broadcast of the canonisation, they have nevertheless sent reporters to Rome to cover the lead up as well as the canonisation ceremony.
But the best coverage of all will be the live webcast of the canonisation which will b e streamed live on Xt3.com and the Archdiocese of Sydney's websites as well as onto large screens erected in the forecourt of St Mary's Cathedral and on screens at Mary MacKillop Place.
Hosted by popular and well known members of the Sydney Archdiocese, Josephite Sister Giovanni Farquer and Fr Mark Podesta will give a commentary in English from 6.15 pm (AEST). The webcast which will also be available via computers with internet connections, will begin at 5 pm with live coverage of the Feast Day Mass of Mary MacKillop to be celebrated by Bishop Julian Porteous at St Mary's Cathedral. Then at 6.15 pm it will cross to St Peter's Square and the two commentators, with the canonisation ceremony itself beginning at 6.30 pm.
For those at home the direct link to the webcast is http://vioca.st/marymackillop. For Tweeters using Twitter use the hash tag and then type in marymackillop: #marymackillop