By Vatican News staff reporter
New Zealand is renewing its dedication to Our Lady following requests from parishioners during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown last year.
The country’s bishops have chosen Te Ara o Maria or Mary’s Way which was suggested by Manuel Beazley, the Auckland Diocese Vicar for Māori and approved last Friday by the bishops at a special meeting held to discuss the project.
Speaking about the name, Bishop of Hamilton Stephen Lowe, Secretary of the Bishops Conference said, “We needed a formal name for the renewal, and Manuel’s suggestion beautifully captures the role of Mary as the model of discipleship who leads us in the way of missionary discipleship.”
The bishops also confirmed that the historic St Mary of the Angels church in central Wellington will become a national shrine to Mary.
Bishop Jean-Baptiste Pompallier dedicated the country to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven when he celebrated his first Mass there on 13 January 1838.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is always a Holy Day of obligation in New Zealand, and this year it also falls on a Sunday. According to the Bishops Conference website, “Parishes throughout the country will be invited to join in prayer for the renewal of the dedication.”
Artist Damien Walker has been commissioned to paint an image of Mary and Jesus that will be unveiled at St Mary of the Angels on 15 August, then taken on a tour or hikoi around each of the country’s six Catholic dioceses.