On Mother's day, Sunday 8th May 2016, the fifth annual Maryfest and Grand Procession was celebrated in honour of Our Lady of Christchurch.
The first procession took place in 2011, after the earthquake of that year, when the statue which was standing in the Cathedral tower was seen to have turned to face out towards the torn city; reminiscent of the words of the the well known hymn "Salve Regina": "Turn, Most Gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us."
For the first time an antique votive heart was also offered enclosing the names of more than 1500 souls who had been enrolled from all around the diocese and further afield in Europe and India. 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"... and formally offered in prayer.
The procession on the day moved along Main South Road, Sockburn, praying the Rosary, with decades interspersed with a hymn. A dozen banners added to the spledour of the occasion. As the procession returned a fanfare sounded through the Parish Church of Our Lady of Victories, the statue was crowned by the May Queen.
For the first time, Bishop Barry Jones was sadly absent. It was he who had founded and had led this procession every year since the first.
This year Fr Rick Loughnan, the Diocesan Administrator, consecrated the city and diocese once again to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and gave the Solemn Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
More information can be found at: facebook.com/OurLadyofChristchurch