Earthquake shaken Wellington Archdiocese asks for Mary’s protection

Thursday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day Wellingtonians traditionally pray to Mary to protect them from earthquakes.

In 1855 Wellington experienced a severe earthquake that rocked the southern part of the North Island. At magnitude 8.2 it was the most powerful ever recorded in New Zealand.

The earthquake was caused by movement along a fault in Palliser Bay and lasted nearly a minute.

Wellington was worst affected and up to nine people died. It altered the landscape of the region and affected its subsequent urban development, although many new wooden buildings survived.

Bishop Viard (who had arrived in Wellington in 1850 as Vicar Apostolic of the Southern diocese, headquartered in Wellington, and was appointed Bishop in 1860) was overseas at the time.

He decided on his return to consecrate the Archdiocese of Wellington to the patronage of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Every year since then, on 8 December Wellington Catholics pray to Mary to protect the city from further earthquakes.

According to ‘local legend’, during World War II Archbishop O’Shea forgot to say the prayer and in 1942 Wellington experienced another severe earthquake. Continue reading

Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

Tags: ,