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The Dedication of St Mary of the Angels Church as the National Shrine of New Zealand to Mary, Assumed into Heaven

New Zealand was dedicated to Mary as “Our Lady Assumed into Heaven’, by Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier when he celebrated the first Mass in Aotearoa New Zealand at Totara point in the Hokianga on 13th of January 1838.

On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, Sunday 15 August 2021, we renewed our country’s dedication to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven, and dedicated St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington as a National Shrine to Mary.

This exciting initiative was called Te Ara a Maria – Mary’s Way. It brought us together as a country 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.

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 gathered to celebrate a special mass at St Mary of the Angels. 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).

To visit the website of St. Mary of the Angels, please use this link