It was a far cry from the humble 2011 procession, the first, behind a broken cathedral in honour of Our Lady of Christchurch — the unattached statue that had turned to stand facing the city in a major earthquake.

At Our Lady of Victories Church on May 8, hundreds of people followed a magnificently
flower-laden bier, carried by six men, on which Mary stood in a procession along the Main South Rd and around parish grounds.

While the rosary was recited, small boys rang bells, young girls dressed in blue and white carried flowers and a brass band played music for hymns. Several colourful banners added to what was a highly organised and beautiful event.

On return to the church, Vicar General Fr Rick Loughnan read the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Litany of Loreto was prayed and Benediction concluded this Year of Mercy Maryfest.

Bishop Barry Jones was remembered for launching this procession and Marian consecration five years ago.

Recently a Christchurch traveller in Italy ran into local people who knew about and exclaimed on the wonder of Mary blessing Christchurch city.

The cathedral wasn’t the only place: The large, high Marian statue on the front of St Mary’s Pro-cathedral stayed in place during the quake and the church had little damage. Its deep foundations helped, but Mary was also at work here. A modern building across the road simply collapsed.