Daughter of Scottish Catholic migrants, daughter of colonial Australia, daughter of the Church, mother of a religious family, and now forever reigning as a saint of God and Christ – Mary of the Cross MacKillop, about to be canonized on the 17th of October this year: it was her shrine that I visited in North Sydney, just after I crossed the Harbour Bridge, and I knelt and kissed her tomb, praying that Australia be blessed with many zealous and holy priests. God grant it!
It is, after all, the end of the Year for Priests. Having one friend a seminarian in Rome, another in Wagga Wagga, and a third preparing to join the F.S.S.P., plus many among the clergy, not to mention those truly concerned to train up much-needed vocations, I feel it only right to intercede for their good estate: God knows His people desperately need good priests, and how much Australia is in need of such. I also knew a man who, after he became a priest, grievously dishonoured his sacred calling, doing terrible things and being a living scandal: for him, and his victims, pray.
Mary MacKillop's memorial chapel is a moving place of prayer; I stayed awhile, and read part of the Office of Corpus Christi, very appropriately given what God through His saint moved me to pray for:
Sic sacrificium istud instituit,
Cujus officium committi voluit
Solis Presbyteris, quibus sic congruit
Ut sumant, et dent ceteris.
(So He this Sacrifice to institute did will,
and charged His priests alone that office to fulfill:
in them He did confide: to whom it pertains still
to take, and the rest divide.)
— Hymn Sacris solemniis at Matins, 5th stanza
Finally getting out of Sydney, I drove on, and on, and on, along excellent roads through many forested hills... as I pressed north I ran into more and more heavy rain, and finally reached Port Macquarie at six o'clock. Not leaving Sydney till after midday was a bit tardy of me.