Rededication of Aotearoa New Zealand to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven
On Sunday 15 August 2021 we renewed our country’s dedication to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven. This exciting initiative was called Te Ara a Maria – Mary’s Way. It brought us together to honour Mary, as she is now - alive, body and soul. We united to rejoice in the happiness of Our Lady's presence in God’s kingdom.
Bishop Pompallier was our country’s first bishop. He journeyed from France to support the growth of our Church in Oceania. At the request of an Irish-born migrant farmer, he decided to move from Australia and settle in the Hokianga. Pompallier made his dedication to Mary while celebrating his first mass here in 1838.
In the Hokianga, Pompallier learnt Te Reo and developed an understanding of Māori spirituality. The partnerships he built helped encourage local iwi to explore the Catholic faith. These important steps would see Hokianga become the cradle of Catholicism in Aotearoa.
Pompallier’s dedication honours Mary as the Virgin Mother of Jesus. She endured an incredible journey - from her teenage years, bearing a child, to being a mother enduring the suffering of her son. Mary’s commitment was always to God. Catholics have a very special relationship with Mary. She is mother to us all, and is in Heaven, body and soul, with her son, Jesus Christ.
Covid-19 and the accompanying lockdowns brought a sense of anguish to our country. We saw other nations struggle during the pandemic and as a country we took measures to unite to protect ourselves. During this testing time, many sought the aid and comfort of our Mother. Our Bishops received requests that we should turn to Mary as a nation, and they decided to renew Pompallier’s dedication.
To mark the renewal of the dedication, our Bishops presided over a special mass at St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington. At this service, we unveiled a new taonga - a beautiful piece of art commissioned to honour Mary.
The artwork is called Ko Hāta Maria, te Matua Wahine o te Atua (Holy Mary, Mother of God).
Photo: Senior students unveil artwork at rededication mass.