Spiritual: Our Lady Brings Cultures Together In New Zealand

Sep 24, 2009

As Indians we are accustomed to worshipping our Blessed Mother in her form as Our Lady of Vailankanni but to see the same devotion for Our Lady in a country several thousands miles away is a great feeling.

Indeed, that country is New Zealand and here we see Our Lady worshipped year after year, and in a special way at the feast of her Nativity. It is at the church of St. Mary’s in a suburb called Avondale in Auckland.

It was in 2003 that a small group of Catholics over an informal chat mulled the idea of holding novenas to Our Lady of Vailankanni in preparation of her birthday on September 8. The idea was proposed to Rev. Father Douglas Fido, a Samoan priest who enthusiastically supported the initiative. 

A landmark day I would call as Our Lady’s devotion brought two cultures together and along with them many more.

Today, six years later, the novenas to Our Lady of Vailankanni is a very special occasion for a lot of Catholics. The devotees are not just Indians, there are Maoris, Samoans, Tongans, Sri Lankans, Filipinos and probably dozens more.

Supporting the novenas through the years has been former Parish Priest Rev.  Fr.  Ioane Anitelea and the current Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Ephrem Tigga.

What makes it more special is the way the novenas are conducted with a special effort made to involve other parishes in the annual event. Every day there is a rosary conducted by a group, there will be a choir and also a priest from another parish invited to celebrate the mass.

In 2004, Most Rev. Bishop Remigius was invited from India to celebrate the feast mass.

This year, it was Most Rev. Patrick Dunn, the Bishop of Auckland who celebrated the feast mass. A great celebration from a minister of church with the most beautiful and humble smile!

(Thanks to Jacinta James and Wenceslaus Anthony for their inputs)

By Sophia Rodrigues - Daijiworld Media Network
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Comment on this article

  • Nelson v kinny, INDIA ( MUMBAI )

    Mon, Mar 21 2011

    your side is nice.
    but ther r no phot or images.
    send me some images and music.

    with love

  • Imtiaz Mohammed Hyder, Mangalore/Rosariochurch Road/Dubai

    Sat, Sep 26 2009


  • Kurt Waschnig, Oldenburg/Germany

    Fri, Sep 25 2009

    I am feeling joy to see faithful Catholics celebrating this important day thousands of miles away from India. Different cultures gathered to pray, to sing to worship. It is encouraging for all Catholics to see these beautiful photographs. Best Kurt

  • Stanley Noronha, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Fri, Sep 25 2009

    Far or near Mother Mary takes care of all her children. We being her children to show our devotion to her by reciting daily the rosary as a family prayer.

  • Wilson, Mangalore

    Fri, Sep 25 2009

    Good stuff Jacinta and Wenceslaus. Just wanted to share my thoughts- I think we honor mother Mary not worship her.Keep up the good work. Wilson

  • D.M.D' Souza, Bantwal

    Fri, Sep 25 2009

    Mother brings together all her children, irrespective of caste, color,religion, gender,creed or(race) Nationality in an alien land! "Blessed are they without seeing the Lord Belive In Him" May she unite all the nations & its people irrespective of their religion together in a bond of Love & Peace.


    Thu, Sep 24 2009


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