In 1838 at the first Catholic Mass, Bishop Pompallier dedicated New Zealand to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven when he celebrated his first Mass here at Totara Point in the Hokianga on 13 January 1838
In 2020 the New Zealand Bishops discussed plans to establish a National Shrine honouring Our Lady with a suitable artwork of Our Lady. This artwork, undertaken by Damian Walker, is touring around New Zealand in a Hikoi following the celebration on the Feast of the Assumption, Sunday 15 August 2021 at St Mary of the Angels’ Church in Wellington, where all the bishops were present. St Mary of the Angels church will become a national shrine to Mary.
A description of the artwork can be read here
The Catholic Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand have chosen Te Ara a Maria: Mary’s Way as the name of the project to renew the country’s dedication to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. “We needed a formal name for the renewal, and this beautifully captures the role of Mary as the model of discipleship who leads us in the way of missionary discipleship,” said Bishop of Hamilton Stephen Lowe, Secretary of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference.
There is a website that has been developed for this initiative www.tearaamaria.nz.
It is hoped that this is an opportunity to provide people with inspiration to be refreshed and revitalised in their faith and their connection to Our Lady as Patroness of Aotearoa.
Te Hīkoi Wairua mo Te Ara a Maria (Pilgrimage of Mary’s Way)
The painting will be making a hikoi (or pilgrimage) throughout New Zealand. It will be in Christchurch Diocese from Sunday 24th October until mid December. Below is the schedule – which is subject to change.
Sunday 24th October – Timaru Parish
Thursday 28th October – Opihi Parish
Sunday 31st October – Ashburton / Mid Canterbury
Wednesday 3rd November – Selwyn Parish
Saturday 6th November – Christchurch West
Wednesday 10th November – Christchurch North
Sunday 14th November – Christchurch East
Wednesday 17th November – Cathedral
Tuesday 23rd November – Christchurch South
Saturday 27th November – Hokitika
Monday 29th November – Greymouth
Thursday 2nd December – Waimakariri
Sunday 5th December – Hurunui
Wednesday 8th December – Beatitudes Community
Saturday 11th December – Beatitudes Community – Festival of Lights
Description of the artwork:
A description of the artwork can be found below
Resources for parishes:
Material is on its way!
Resources for schools:
The Christchurch Catholic Education Office have prepared materials for schools and these can be found on this link below:
A further activity sheet can be found here
Resources for youth ministry:
The Catholic Youth Team have developed materials for use
National Liturgy Office resources
Ritual of Re-dedication, prayers and poems and music
Instructions to go with the artwork:
For transporting and handling the artwork