A Family Pilgrimage with Mary in the Wellington region on May 12 saw some 50 pilgrims praying for the needs of families. The pilgrims visited churches and other sacred sites associated with our Blessed Mother. May is traditionally a month of particular devotion to Our Lady.

Pilgrims at the statue of Our Lady of Kapiti at Paraparaumu

The family pilgrimage began with 8.30am Mass celebrated by Fr James Lyons at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This was followed by a trip to Our Lady of Fatima church at Tawa where the pilgrims received a blessing from Fr Marlon Tebelin, the new Filipino chaplain.

From Tawa, the pilgrims journeyed to the statue of Our Lady of Kapiti at Paraparaumu, then to the Our Lady of Fatima church in Waikanae. The pilgrimage culminated with lunch and a visit to the historic St Mary’s church in Otaki where children present led St John Paul II’s Prayer for the Family.

At each sacred site, a decade of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary was prayed corresponding to a particular intention: (1) For men and women and young people to discover their true identity and dignity in Christ; (2) For human life to be respected from conception up to natural death; (3) For an increase in married, priestly and religious vocations; (4) For love and unity in the family, and for an increase in the number of Christian families living and passing on the Christian faith; and (5) For support for the weak, the elderly and those marginalised in society.

The Scripture that served as inspiration for the family pilgrimage was the wedding at Cana from the Gospel of John, where Jesus turned water into wine for the newly married couple at the request of his mother — though his “hour” had not yet come (John 2:1-12). This shows the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother and her maternal care for families.

The Family Pilgrimage was organised by the Legion of Mary and the Centre for Marriage and Family (CMF).

It followed on from the pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Auckland that was held at the end of September and early October last year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.