Hikoi leading up to rededication of NZ to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven postponed


The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference has made a significant change to the proposal to renew the country’s dedication to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven.

The proposed hikoi of a special artwork around Aotearoa New Zealand – which was to happen in the three months leading to the Feast of the Assumption on 15 August – has been postponed.

However, the bishops will still gather at St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington on Sunday, August 15, for a Mass to renew Bishop Pompallier’s 1838 dedication of Aotearoa New Zealand to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven.

Bishop of Hamilton Stephen Lowe, secretary of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, said the bishops decided at their recent meeting in Hamilton that the hikoi project had been approved without sufficient discussions with the wider community, including Katorika Māori (Catholic Māori).

Bishop Lowe said a decision on whether a hikoi might now happen after August 15 would be made following further community discussions. However, the special Mass to renew the dedication would still take place.

Bishop Jean-Baptiste Pompallier – this country’s first Catholic bishop, serving from 1838 to 1868 – dedicated Aotearoa New Zealand to the care of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven when he celebrated his first Mass on New Zealand soil at Totara Point in Northland on January 13, 1838.

August 15 is always a Holy Day of Obligation for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and this year it is also a Sunday. Parishes throughout the country will be invited to join in prayer for the renewal of the dedication.

Earlier this year, the bishops commissioned an icon artwork of Mary by Christchurch artist Damien Walker. The plan is that it will eventually reside at St Mary of the Angels.

Photo: Discussing where the artwork of Mary will be displayed in the baptism alcove of St Mary of the Angels, from left, Siobhan Dilly and Kate Aduna from the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference secretariat; Abby Cummins and Fr Kevin Mowbray from St Mary of the Angels.

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Michael Otto

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