TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD
OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BRISBANE
The painting of the patron of the Archdiocese, St Mary MacKillop, copies of which are in our parish churches, will soon have a permanent home in one of the turrets at the front of the Cathedral. Beneath it will stand a marble image of the Sacred Heart from the Cathedral before the 1989 renovation, keeping in mind that the full name of the Congregation founded by St Mary MacKillop is the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
I have also decided that in this space we will entrust all victims and survivors of sexual abuse to the intercession of St Mary MacKillop, who knew the pain of the victim and the strength of the survivor. The turret will contain a candle and inscription remembering those who have been abused and their loved ones, and entrusting them to the loving intercession of Mother Mary of the Cross. The candle will stand on stone from Jerusalem, linking the memorial to the whole story of salvation. In the turret we will also place another marble from old St Stephen’s – an image of the crucifixion with Mary and John beneath the Cross. The one on the Cross represents all who have been abused and the two figures beneath the Cross represent their family and friends who have shared their suffering.
The new shrine will be dedicated during 10.00am Mass in the Cathedral on Sunday 21 October. This will be the day before the national apology to the victims and survivors of abuse in the parliament in Canberra. So the dedication of the new shrine will be a simple way for the Archdiocese of Brisbane to share deeply, sincerely and permanently in the apology to all who have been abused, but especially those who have been abused in the Church.
May this be a powerful and enduring response inspired by the Gospel which so inspired St Mary MacKillop to respond to the needs of her own time.
Most Reverend Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane