The Southern Cross : December 2010
www.adelaide.catholic.org.au news The Southern Cross December 2010 Page 13 By Rebecca DiGirolamo More than 700 people considered becoming Catholic this year -- a massive increase largely attributed to the high- profile canonisation of Mary MacKillop. In 2010, the Catholic Enquiry Centre -- a national body in Sydney -- sent catechetical material to 721 people from across Australia, 63% more than last year's total enquirers. Catholic Enquiry Centre director Marita Winters said the positive publicity around the canonisation of Mary MacKillop had generated increased interest. She said 27 per cent of all enquiries this year were received during October alone. In South Australia, enquiries to Sisters of Saint Joseph has increased post canonisation, as has the number of visitors to the Mary MacKillop centres in Kensington and Penola. Canonisation Project Executive Officer Sister Mary Mercer rsj said Adelaide had more people enquiring about the various ministries of the sisters, however none had so far translated into more novitiates. "Following the canonisation there could be more women thinking about religious life, but I think that is a seed that has to be nurtured before we see it bear fruit," said Sr Mary. The Mary MacKillop Penola Centre has reported a 62 per cent increase in visitor numbers for October compared with the same time last year. Claire Larkin, chairperson of the centre committee since 1995, said about 2500 visitors walked through the centre's doors on the weekend of the canonisation. There are five new volunteers helping at the centre. "We have no idea what the future will bring but expect that there will be an increase in visitors." Ms Larkin said the town, 450km south-east of Adelaide, had been supportive of the various canonisation events and the ongoing preparations in the lead-up to October 17. "They (townspeople) see it as helping the economy of the town as every visitor brings some benefits." In Kensington, the Mary MacKillop Centre has been "choka-block", with staff struggling to keep up with demand for scarves, videos and CDs. The same goes for North Sydney where the Mary MacKillop Place gift shop has experienced a "massive increase in merchandise". "It is hard to keep up the replacement of items in the shop," said Sr Mary. The online store is advising customers they will have a wait up to four weeks for merchandise. The North Sydney pastoral team is also run off its feet answering up to 50 phone calls a day and dozens more emails from faithful as far as a remote island off the coast of Ireland. "The first week after the canonisation, it was pretty much nonstop here," said North Sydney pastoral care co- ordinator Sr Pat Hales. Many people are seeking prayers for illness, family breakdowns and others are recounting graces. "Couples who could not conceive are bringing their babies to Mary MacKillop Place, and people who were expecting the worst outcomes for an operation, surviving to tell their stories," said Sr Hales. Funeral Directors Frank J Siebert Life changing. When you engage in Funeral ritual, you acknowledge life passed, give meaning to life lived, encounter your sense of loss, and your journey of grieving. When someone we love dies, we touch the mystery of life changing, not ending. Signature Service ... since 1867 Dedicated to Faith-centred Funerals Phone (08) 8223 5879 24 hours 7 days 49 Wakefield Street, Adelaide 5000. Proprietor and Manager B Siebert Canonisation yields interest PENOLA INUNDATED: Claire Larkin says the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre has had 62 per cent more visitors in October compared to last year. TIME TRAVELLERS: About 700 people from all corners of the Port Pirie Diocese attended the Saint Mary MacKillop Thanksgiving Mass at St Anacletus Church, Peterborough on October 24. The celebrations included lunch at the local football clubrooms and oval. Pictured is Annie Weckert from St Joseph's School, Gladstone, taking a horse and buggy ride with Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ.