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Monday, May 09, 2016

Written in Her Heart

On Sunday, 8 May, 2016, 
the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer in Christchurch,
 New Zealand, had the joy of once more 
organising what would become the 
fifth annual Maryfest and Grand Procession
 in honour of Our Lady of Christchurch. 
The first procession took place in 2011,
after the terrible earthquake of 22 February that year, 
when the image of Our Lady
 which was standing in the (since collapsed) Cathedral tower
 was seen to have turned to face out towards the torn city;
reminiscent of the Salve Regina:
"Turn then, Most Gracious Advocate, 
thine eyes of mercy towards us."
Much work of preparation bears fruit 
in the rapid assembly of everything required 
in the church hall of the 
Christchurch parish of Our Lady of Victories.
Our Lady's bellringers await the moment 
when they will ring the glory or their Heavenly Queen.
This year a very beautiful crown was 
made painstakingly by the hand 
of a hidden servant of Our Lady 
and offered to her by 
the little cortege of the 
Crown Bearer, May Queen and Train Bearer.

The bier leaves the church borne by the sedarii
assisted by the ribboniers and flanked by the torch bearers.
Our Lady's flower girls and bell ringers go ahead 
strewing the ground with petals
 and ringing little bells.
The Mother of God represented as 
Our Lady of Christchurch is borne aloft 
through the streets 
wearing her silver tiara in preparation for the coronation.
As we process along Main South Road 
the Holy Rosary is played,
the band taking up the Gloria 
and interspersing the decades with 
a verse of the Fatima Ave.
A dozen garlanded banners add to the spleadour of the occasion.

The return to the Church of Our Lady of Victories.
This year for the first time, 
His Lordship Bishop Barry Jones
 was sadly absent, having passed away 
on 13 February this year.
In his stead
Very Rev. Fr Rick Loughnan, 
our Diocesan Administrator, 
consecrated the city and diocese once again to 
the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary 
and gave the Solemn Benediction
of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
As the fanfare resounded through the church...
....our May Queen crowns the image of the Queen of the May.
A miniature orchestra accompanies the congregation 
during the exposition of 
the Blessed Sacrament, 
playing "Jesus my Lord, my God, my All
and the "Tantum Ergo".
Unfortunately pictures cannot sufficiently capture the 
 moving witness of hundreds of souls from the Diocese 
kneeling, singing sweetly to this accompaniment 
in adoration of Our Eucharist Lord.
For the first time Our Blessed Lady 
was, this year, offered an antique votive heart
 enclosing the names of more than 1500 souls
 who had been enrolled
 from all around the diocese.
The very large number of sheets of names 
were gathered, printed in miniature 
and enclosed in the receptacle in the back of the heart
... literally "written in Our Lady's heart"... 
This was formally offered to Our Blessed Mother 
by our Very Rev. Diocesan Administrator.
This year the sedarii were 
captained by Mr Matthew Green 
and the men of our city,
 proud to serve under the banner of Heaven.
Surely another crown is to be found for 
Our Lady in the 
beautiful and innocent souls
 of the children of our Oratory
 pictured here after the procession  
with their chaperons.
They are truly "building Jerusalem" 
once more here in the South Pacific.
May she keep them always as the apple of her eye.
Our human eyes see perhaps
the beauty of the day,
but the wonder of a city placed under 
the mantle of our Heavenly Queen is far greater. 
Everything we saw was brought to
 the feet of their Queen
 by those who live in our city and its environs,
 a truly remarkable witness to their faith.
Our Lady of Christchurch,
turn always thine eyes of mercy towards us!

A large album of photographs may be found here: 


Anonymous said...

Deo Gratias et Mariae!

Konstantin said...

What a beautiful public witness to the Faith! I think this should serve as an example for what a good Latin Mass apostolate can do out of love for God and Our Lady.

umblepie said...

Wonderful occasion and photographs, brings back many happy memories of the English Catholic Church of my childhood. We hope and pray that such events will be revived in this country.

Michelle Therese said...

That crown is so incredibly beautiful that one can only gape in wonder!
Everything is amazing, the clothing, the veils! The bier or what would it be called? What a fantastic beautiful honoring of Our Lady.
And that crown, it really is striking!

Anne B said...

Ave Maria! Have mercy on your southernmost children in Australasia! Save our countries from ideological attacks at the heart of our governments. Amen
Salve Regina Mater Misericordiae!

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