A youthful Blessed Virgin Mary, with a long white cloud and sea as background, is the image that will represent the New Zealand Pro-Life Rosary Crusade in its efforts to counter what is seen as an anti-life sentiment in Parliament.
The image, created by Studio of John the Baptist artist Michael Pervan, was based on a photo of a rare, little statue of the Blessed Virgin.

“We used that as our starting point and wanted to produce an image that would speak to all generations, but, especially, the younger set,” he said.

Mr Pervan explained he deliberately stepped away from using austere icon images so that Our Lady would be more “accessible to the younger viewers”.

“This is the artist’s way of saying she belongs to our time as much as to ancient time,” he said.

The blue of her gown veers towards the turquoise of the paua shell, while the ocean background comes from New Zealand being surrounded by water.

“The 12 stars around the head are a way of identifying this woman with the woman of the Apocalypse. This is how art does it,” Mr Pervan said.

The three little stars on her forehead and shoulders are an age-old visual depiction symbolising Mary’s virginity before, during and after the birth of her son.

“Quite deliberately, she is offering to the viewer the rosary beads as an invitation
to use it as a means of prayer,” Mr Pervan said.

The rosary crusade will bring Catholics from all over the country together in prayer at 3 pm on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

A National March for Life, led by Family Life International, and the rosary crusade will be held on the same day. The march, starting at 2pm, will be from Lambton Quay in Wellington to Parliament grounds.

The rosary crusade was an idea that came to Beverley Bennett, Dan Lim and Clare Dargaville in February this year.

“This is a critical time for New Zealand,” Mrs Dargaville said. “It is no exaggeration to say that we are on a precipice. If these anti-life laws are passed, it will be virtually impossible
to overturn them.”

Mrs Dargaville was referring to a future bill likely to be based on the ministerial briefing paper from the Law Commission on making abortion a health matter rather than a criminal one (this was instigated by the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister), and also
to the End of Life Choice Bill, currently before a select committee.

“The politicians say they want abortion legal, safe and rare. Safe for whom? Not the baby,” Mrs Dargaville said. “By taking abortion out of the Crimes Act, it would mean New Zealand is sanctioning violence and [the] killing of our most vulnerable citizens, unborn babies
in the womb.”

Mrs Dargaville said Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn is a patron of the crusade.

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