by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — St Patrick’s Cathedral is celebrating the canonisations
of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II with a display of mementoes of the two saints.
Auckland Vicar General Msgr Bernard Kiely said the cathedral put up
the display in recognition of their “enormous contribution to the life of the Church”.
“When it came to providing material for the display, of course, we have a lot more on John Paul II because he actually came to New Zealand and he was pope for so long, nearly 27 years, while Pope John XXIII was only pope for four years,” he said.
The cathedral proudly showcased the picture of Pope John XXIII with
Auckland Bishop, and later Cardinal, Reginald Delargey.
“We are blessed to have a photo of the pope with our cardinal,” Msgr
Among the taongas held by the Auckland diocese are the chasuble and
stole worn by Pope John Paul II at the Mass held at Auckland Domain in 1986.
“You can notice on the base of the front panel of the chasuble, his coat of arms. John Paul’s coat of arms were very distinctive because he has the “M” on it. He must be the first pontiff to have M for Mary in his coat of arms,” noted Msgr Kiely.
The cathedral also has St John Paul II’s amice, a short white linen cloth worn around the priest’s neck and shoulders while his zucchetto, a white skull cap, will be provided by the diocese’s
The public is also invited to see St John Paul II’s gift to the Auckland diocese, which is an icon of , the Black Madonna of Poland. It is one of the most reconisable
Marian images today due to the pope’s public veneration of it. According to tradition, St Luke the Evangelist painted the original portrait where Mary is depicted holding the child Jesus.
Also on display at the cathedral is the sculpture of St John Paul II created by artist Toni Cross de Chavannes.
“She was an old girl of St Mary’s College. She actually experienced physical healing of cancer, she says, when she was creating this image of St John Paul II and so felt compelled to donate it to
the cathedral because of the healing Part of the John Paul II and John XIII exhibit that she had experienced when working
on this image,” he said.
Msgr Kiely said St John Paul II is much loved in New Zealand, having
been the first pope to visit the country. He said St John XXIII is loved as well and older Catholics will remember him as the pope who “had the courage to move forward, renew and update the Church in so many ways”.
by ROWENA OREJANA