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 (pictured) in Wellington on Sunday 15 August 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.
Bishop Lowe said a decision on whether a hikoi might now happen after 15 August 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 here at Totara Point in Northland on 13 January 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.