Procession gives Mary tour of damaged site

Last updated 05:00 30/05/2011

HAIL MARY: The Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament's statue of the Virgin Mary is once again the centrepiece for a religious ceremony during a devotion.

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A statue of the Virgin Mary that turned 180 degrees during the February earthquake yesterday went full circle as part of a May procession.

The figure from the north tower of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament became a quake survival symbol after turning about-face to look out of a tower window over the battered city.

Yesterday she was carried around the damaged cathedral, once again the centrepiece for a religious ceremony.

May was the traditional month for devotion to Mary in the Catholic church, but Bishop Barry Jones said the service was not common in Christchurch.

"We have had processions in the past, but not one of these," he said.

"This is a new one."

After circumnavigating the cathedral grounds, the 200-strong congregation said the prayer of consecration to Mary and the city.

The statue was damaged while being removed from the tower, but was repaired by a group of Carmelite sisters in time for the procession.

"You wouldn't know anything had happened to it," the bishop said.

The statue's next home was undecided but St Mary's on Manchester St was a possibility as it had lost its statue in the quake.

"Whatever happens, it will certainly be treated with great respect," the bishop said.

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- The Press


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