OCEANIA/NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand welcomes relics of mission patroness Saint Therese of Lisieux at the start of a pilgrimage across the islands coinciding with the end of the Year of the Eucharist

Monday, 26 September 2005

Wellington(Fides Service) - This year in New Zealand the feast of St Therese of Lisieux, patroness of the missions, 1 October, will be celebrated in style thanks to the presence of the relics of Saint Therese Little Flower on a ‘visit’ here from 18 September to 16 October. The relics will be carried to every diocese making stops at main cities like Wellington and Auckland and smaller towns including Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wanganui. Saint Therese was proclaimed co-patroness of the missions with Saint Francis Xavier in 1947.
This important event comes as the Church in New Zealand in communion with the universal Church all over the world is holding various initiatives to mark the closing of the special Year of the Eucharist a gift to the Church by the dearly beloved late John Paul II. The year will be closed in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI together with Bishops of the world at the end of the 11th ordinary general Synod of Bishops during a solemn Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on 23 October, also World Mission Sunday.
The relics of the Little Flower were welcomed in Auckland with great joy and devotion on 18 September. The Catholic Bishop Patrick Dunn told Fides the crowds were enormous and the cathedral was filled to capacity but what impressed him most was “the silence and visible deep devotion of everyone present”.
Where ever she goes St Therese will be given a special place of honour in churches for prayers, Masses in different languages, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary prayer. In preparation for the special ‘visitor’ meetings of reflection on the Saint’s spiritual dairy, “Story of a Soul” were organised in parishes and leaflets on her life and spirituality were distributed in parishes and schools.
St Therese was a Carmelite nun and in various places the relics will be exposed in Carmelite convents for celebrations involving religious communities, lay movements and associations.
On Saturday October 1 the Saint’s relics will be exposed for devotion in the Catholic Cathedral of Wellington. People are expected to come from all over the country for the great day followed by all night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until the first Sunday morning Mass.
“This pilgrimage of the relics of Saint Therese will certainly help to strengthen the faith of believers and their devotion to the Eucharist. However it will also be an opportunity to put all New Zealanders in contact with the transcendent”, said a local Carmelite Friar. You are invited to submit a prayer intention and also to join the 2005 New Zealand Pilgrimage of Grace by visiting the reliquary, and follow its progress as it moves throughout New Zealand.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/9/2005 righe 27 parole 292)