St. Thérèse's Relics on Tour in New Zealand

A Packed Cathedral Greeted Their Arrival in Auckland

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, SEPT. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patroness of the missions, is being celebrated this year in New Zealand with a special visit.

The relics of the Little Flower are touring the country through Oct. 16, reported the Vatican agency Fides.

Bishop Patrick James Dunn told Fides that the crowds were enormous, and the cathedral was filled to capacity when the relics of the saint arrived in Auckland on Sept. 18.

The bishop said that what impressed him most was “the silence and visible deep devotion of everyone present.”

The relics will be carried to every diocese, making stops at main cities like Wellington and Auckland and smaller towns including Hamilton, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

At various churches, the faithful will have the opportunity to participate in prayers, Masses, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the rosary in the presence of the relics.

Organized reflections on the saint’s spiritual dairy, “Story of a Soul,” and leaflets on her life and spirituality helped to prepare the faithful for the visit of the relics.

The relics of the Carmelite nun will also visit Carmelite convents for celebrations involving religious communities, lay movements and associations.

On Saturday, the saint’s feast day, her relics will be exposed for devotion in the Catholic cathedral of Wellington. All-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will follow and last until the first Sunday morning Mass.

“This pilgrimage of the relics of St. Thérèse 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.

St. Thérèse was proclaimed co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier in 1947.

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