by NZ CATHOLIC staff
The launch of the cause of sainthood of Fr Antoine Marie Garin, SM, will take place with a Mass on April 14 at St Michael’s Church, Auckland, at 7.30pm.
The launch is taking place in Auckland because he founded the parishes of Howick and Panmure.
After making his profession as a member of the Society of Mary, in 1840 Fr Garin was assigned to New Zealand, where he arrived with 10 other members of the society on the Mary Grey at the Bay of Islands on June 14, 1841.
He was provincial of the Marists in New Zealand from 1841 to 1843 and, despite Pompallier’s growing antagonism to the society, he was nominated several times to Rome as a possible bishop.
In late 1843 Fr Garin was sent to the Kaipara mission station at Mangakahia, near Tangiteroria. In 1847 he was appointed to the pensioner soldier settlements at Howick, Panmure and Otahuhu, where more than half the families were Irish Catholics.
In 1850, after the quarrels between Bishop Pompallier and the Marists, Fr Garin accompanied Bishop Philippe Viard to Wellington. He was assigned to Nelson where he remained for the next 38 years. He had the pastoral care of 200–300 Catholics scattered over the huge area of Nelson, Buller, Marlborough and the northern part of the region that became Westland. Fr Garin died on April 14, 1889.
When Fr Garin was exhumed 18 months after his death to be reinterred in a crypt below a chapel, his body was found to be incorrupt, despite the coffin being filled with water. The vestments had stained pink as the red dye had run in the water and his biretta had fallen slightly forward on his forehead.