Back in 1995, the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference issued the first edition of texts for Mass (and the Liturgy of the Hours) for Bl Mary MacKillop, prepared by the National Liturgical Commission; and in 1996, a revised second edition followed, this time with approval of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Last year, ready for use on her feast to-day, the ACBC and CDW issued a third edition, raising her feast to a solemnity in recognition of her canonization as St Mary of the Cross.
The changes in the three prayers of the Mass are most instructive, illustrating a notable shift in what our betters intend us to pray for. But to begin with, she is no longer styled "religious", but "virgin", a rightful change back to her proper title. Similarly, her secular surname "MacKillop" is deleted and she is referred to as St Mary of the Cross only.
In 1995, not one but two opening prayers were supplied – the first disappeared the next year and has never been seen again, while the second survived without change until it was redrafted in 2010, and properly retitled a collect:
In your loving providence, O God, you raised up in our midst Mary MacKillop as a blessing for those in need. May her tireless dedication to the poor inspire in us fresh energies for all the works of love. We ask this… [suppressed 1996]
1995 & 1996:
Holy God, source of all goodness, you show us in Mary MacKillop a woman of faith who lived by the power of the cross. Help us to embrace what she pioneered: new ways of living the gospel that respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land. We ask this…
O God, source of all goodness, who have shown us in Saint Mary a woman of faith living by the power of the Cross, teach us, we pray, by her example to live the Gospel in changing times and to respect and defend the human dignity of all in our land. Through our Lord...
There is no more of a dubious liberal hijacking of Mother Mary to talk of "new ways of living the gospel", but instead to rightly pray for the grace "to live the gospel", one and unchanging, "in changing times". Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis. Note too the deletion of "Holy" here, and "Bountiful" below, suppressing a modern nostrum about always adding some odd epithet to the Deity, some quite risible, in place of the traditional words, such as "Lord" or "almighty" or "eternal".
The "Prayer over the Gifts", now relabelled "Prayer over the Offerings", to more explicitly recognize that what is brought to the altar as gift is then offered to the Lord, has undergone the most astonishing metamorphosis, transformed from an embarrassing effusion prating of a "table" laid with "simple gifts of bread and wine" (which a priest friend suggested was due to some dilly nun) into a much better prayer:
One in faith with Mary MacKillop, we come to your table, O Lord, with simple gifts of bread and wine. Hear the praise and thanksgiving of your Church. We ask this…
In your loving providence, O God, you gather us at your holy altar on this feast of Mary MacKillop. May the praise and thanksgiving we offer with her and all your Church strengthen our bonds of charity and faith. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
As you gather us, O God, at your holy altar on this Feast of Saint Mary of the Cross, grant, we pray, through her intercession, that what we offer with praise and petition may strengthen us all in charity and faith. Through Christ our Lord.
By 2010, prayer for the intercession of the saints has reëmerged!
A curious change has also taken place in the prayer after communion, from mention of celebrating the sacrifice to receiving communion – both being entirely true statements of course:
Bountiful God, may the sacrifice we celebrate on this feast of Mary MacKillop lead us to imitate her generosity and strengthen us to walk the way of the cross. We ask this…
Bountiful God, may the sacrifice we celebrate on this feast of Mary MacKillop strengthen us to walk the way of the cross and bring us to the glory of the resurrection. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
May the Sacrament we receive, Lord God, on this Feast of Saint Mary strengthen us to walk the way of the Cross and bring us to the glory of the Resurrection. Through Christ our Lord.