Bishops postpone national hikoi until further notice

New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference has deferred the national hikoi prior to this August’s renewal of Aotearoa New Zealand’s dedication to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven.

The bishops have decided to postpone the hikoi in which a specially-commissioned artwork will be displayed.

Bishop Stephen Lowe, (pictured) Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, says the bishops revised their original plan after deciding the hikoi had been approved without sufficient discussions with the wider community, including Katorika (Catholic) Māori.

The postponement is ‘until further notice’.

Lowe says a decision on whether a hikoi might be planned for after 15 August would be made following further community discussions.

The hikoi had been set for the three months leading to the Feast of the Assumption on 15 August.

Despite the postponement, the bishops’ other plans to renew the country’s dedication to Our Lady will continue.

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

When the hikoi was first announced in March, Bishop Stephen Lowe explained its purpose.

“Bishop Pompallier had already dedicated the country to Mary.”

“But the bishops thought the idea of a renewal of that dedication had merit, especially because this year, August 15th is a Sunday.

“Mary has a special and very holy place in the hearts of Catholics. In this time of a world pandemic, we felt it fitting to renew our country’s dedication to her.”

Pompallier – who was the country’s first Catholic bishop (1838 to 1868) – dedicated the country to Our Lady’s care when he celebrated his first Mass here at Totara Point in Northland on 13 January 1838.

Parishes throughout the country will continue to be invited to join in prayer for the renewal of the dedication.

The bishops commissioned the artwork of Mary from Christchurch artist Damien Walker and had planned that the work would be taken on a hikoi around each of the country’s six Catholic dioceses in the three months leading to the Solemnity of the Assumption.

Damien Walker, says the painting “presents Mary as a symbol of unity in her universal motherhood, uniting Heaven and Earth in her son.”

“She reflects the unity of the Church, which reaches to the ends of the Earth, stretching not only across the oceans but across the centuries as well.

“The work has a distinctly New Zealand flavour, emphasising also the unity of the tangata whenua with all the other peoples who have come to live alongside them in the partnership of biculturalism, called to live the same faith and baptism, each in their unique way.”

In the bishops’ statement, Lowe does not mention what will happen with the artwork.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , , ,