New reliquary for church


God’s Holy Spirit not only operates in mysterious ways, but very swiftly, given an experience in St Mary’s Catholic Parish Whanganui — Te Parihi Katorika Ki Whanganui over this last Easter Triduum.

It started with an ordinary request from NZ Catholic to local correspondents around the country for photos of their Easter liturgies.

Taking a photo of the emptied tabernacle on Holy Thursday night, local reporter Sue Seconi spied two objects inside. Fearing getting closer and triggering off the security alarm she emailed parish priest Fr Marcus Francis.

What were they? He emailed back explaining they were relics placed there for safe keeping. Mrs Seconi spoke to sacristans Kathy Orsborn and Helen Codlin on Good Friday and it was decided it was time to investigate the possibility of building a suitable cabinet to bring all the relics together in one place for everyone to view.

Mrs Orsborn then emailed a retired friend and popular local jeweller Richard Sheppard to enquire if a cabinet of some sort could be specifically built and how much would it cost? No problems.

He emailed back explaining that when he sold his business a glass cabinet on wheels became excess to requirement in the front show room and was stored out the back.

Much to the delightful surprise of Fr Francis and the sacristans, this was dropped off at the parish as a gift.

Within the Second Sunday of Easter, the four relics of St Peter Chanel, one each of St Maria Goretti, St Therese Lisieux, St Vincent de Paul, St Puis X and a snippet of veil from Venerable Suzanne Aubert had been delicately placed on the top shelf.

The statue of St Theresa of the Little Flower went on the floor of this 1.5 m high cabinet. When devotions are held, this reliquary can be pushed to the main centre of the church as a prayerful focal point.

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Sue Seconi

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