The wooden statue of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus at St Thomas More Church in Glenfield caught fire recently with the cause being too many lit tealight candles below it. 

Parish priest Fr Alfredo Garcia said it was miraculous that the fire did not touch anything else.

Above left: The statue after the fire and above, the statue of the Virgin Mary with Child before the fire .

“The miracle was Mother Mary consumed the flames unto herself saving the church,” he said.

The fire occurred on the evening of September 9. Fr Garcia locked the church at around seven in the evening. The alarm went off after half an hour.

“There was almost zero-visibility because the church was filled with smoke. I went back in and saw that the fire was steadily burning the statue. We called the firemen who
came in immediately and put the fire out,” he said.

Some parishioners suggested that the statue be kept as is.

But Fr Garcia said the statue wasn’t totally burned and that the back of the image was still intact.

He said artist Damien Walker from the Studio of St Philomena in Christchurch offered to restore the image.

Meanwhile, the parish is held eucharistic adoration at 3pm on each Sunday in September to pray for sexual abuse victims and for the sanctification of the Church.

“That was basically to heed the call of Pope Francis to offer fervent prayers and reparations,” Fr Garcia explained.

He said the adorations were well-attended with people from other parishes coming to participate.

“I was so delighted. I hope it will continue until the last remaining Sunday of this month,” he said.

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