Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 8 December

As has been the custom for many years, an archdiocesan Mass will be celebrated on the Archdiocese of Wellington feast day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December. The Mass will be celebrated at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral, Karori, at 7pm.

WelCom December 2023

Ko te Rā Nui o te Whakaāhuatanga Harakoretanga – 8 o Hakihea

As has been the custom for many years, an archdiocesan Mass will be celebrated on the Archdiocese of Wellington feast day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December. The Mass will be celebrated at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral, Karori, at 7pm. The archdiocese will again be entrusted to the care of Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception at this Mass. Parishes in the archdiocese are asked to renew that Consecration on the following Sunday, 10 December, at all parish Masses. The Act of Consecration of the Archdiocese to Mary, prayer for 8 December, is below right. 

The feast of the Immaculate Conception is the day on which the Archdiocese of Wellington annually seeks Mary’s guidance and protection with a special prayer of consecration.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December, celebrates the beginning of Mary’s life, and her birthday is honoured nine months later on 8 September.

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that Mary was herself conceived immaculate – that is, without the stain of original sin – in her own mother.

This happened through the foreseen merits of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus. It was most fitting that she who was to be the mother of the Son of God should be free from the corruption that sin brought into the world.

Mary’s parents – tradition names them Anne and Joachim – conceived and brought her to birth as any other parents, but within her own being Mary was preserved from anything aligned with sinfulness.

Since the 1850s our Archdiocese has been privileged to have this Immaculate Mother as patron. 

Each year since then we re-consecrate ourselves, our families, our nation and our world to her protection, asking especially that she keep us safe from the destructive power of earthquakes. May we rejoice again.

This image of Mary was created by the Room 2 students of Sacred Heart, Reefton, who worked hard on their mixed media artwork ‘Our Lady of Assumption’ for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, 15 August. Their picture of Mary now graces the school’s foyer for all to appreciate. Photo: Rose O’Connor

Act of Consecration of the Archdiocese to Mary 

Prayer for 8 December 

Mary, Mother of God, Christian people have always called on you in their hour of need and you have never failed them. We, the Church of Wellington, on this feast of your Immaculate Conception express our love for you and ask your help for our needs and the needs of the whole world. [*Holy Mary, Mother of God . . . Response: . . . pray for us.]

We consecrate to you the Archdiocese of Wellington and its people. May we always admire and strive to live the virtues of your life. Watch over and protect the Church and be with Pope Francis and our bishops as they shepherd Christ’s pilgrim church. [*… Response]

We pray for the peoples of the world, that they may learn to know your Son and banish all that is contrary to the Gospel. Inspire people to work for basic human needs and for understanding and mutual trust between nations. May your Son raise up men and women who will spend themselves in alleviating the needs of people in lands where there is suffering, hunger and disease. Have compassion on parents unable to provide for their families, on husbands and wives who are separated, and on children who are victims of ignorance or violence. [*… Response]

Mother of Mercy, through your intercession may the Holy Spirit change the hearts of all and turn them towards truth, justice and charity. Teach them to see that peace will be possible only when all obey God’s Law, respecting the rights and dignity of their neighbour. [*… Response]

We ask you especially to protect the parents and families of our land, that they may learn the meaning of love and justice. Strengthen us so that we may withstand the temptations we meet and reach our potential as unique creations of God. [*… Response]

God established the earth on firm foundations. Ask God now to remove from our land the danger of earthquakes and the terror and destruction they bring. [*… Response]

Mother of God, through your intercession may all nations turn from sin. Lead the nations to the loving and merciful heart of your Son, where alone they will find truth, life and peace forever. Amen.

In 1855 Wellington experienced a severe earthquake that rocked the southern part of the North Island. At magnitude 8.2 it was the most powerful ever recorded in New Zealand.

The earthquake rocked Wellington and the Wairarapa at 9.11pm, on 23 January 1855. The earthquake was centred in the south-west Wairarapa along the Wairarapa Fault, about 25kms from Wellington.

Bishop Viard – who had arrived in Wellington in 1850 as Vicar Apostolic of the Southern diocese, headquartered in Wellington, and was appointed Bishop in 1860 – was overseas at the time. He decided on his return to consecrate the Archdiocese of Wellington to the patronage of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.