Rededication of Aotearoa New Zealand to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven
On Sunday 15 August we renew our country’s dedication to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven. We have called this Te Ara a Maria – Mary’s Way. This is an opportunity for all of us to honour Mary as she is now - alive, body and soul, rejoicing in the happiness of 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 famer he decided to move from Australia and settle in the Hokianga. Pompallier made his dedication 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 to being a mother enduring the sufferings of her son. Mary’s commitment was always to God. Her reward was the comfort of being assumed into heaven.
Covid-19 brought anguish to our country. We saw other countries struggle during the pandemic and as a country we took measures to unite to protect ourselves. During this testing time many sought aid and comfort. Our Bishops received requests and they decided to renew Pompallier’s dedication.
To mark the renewal of the dedication, our Bishops will stage a special mass at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington on 15 August. This service will see the unveiling of artwork specially commissioned to honour Mary. The artwork will then journey around New Zealand before being permanently housed at St Mary of the Angels which will become a National Shrine.
Photo: Senior students from Te Kura Taumata o Panguru.