March 19th – Feast of St Joseph: Our little Sodality had the honour of adorning the parish statue of St Joseph with flowers and greenery to solemnize the consecration of the SSPX to St Joseph.
Passiontide and Holy Week: As in previous years we ironed and placed the purple cloths on the statues in the Church in preparation for Passiontide and we cleaned the brass.
A week later in response to our Director’s encouragement, we did our best to make the Altar of Repose more beautiful than ever for our dear Lord this year. Many parishioners commented on how beautiful it looked and how it was the best one yet so I think we succeeded!
The councillors also had the honour of embellishing the table for the blessing of the holy water and paschal candle stand with flowers for the Easter Vigil.
April 8th - Feast of the Annunciation: We had the joy of seeing four aspirants make their consecrations! There are now almost 20 consecrated Children of Mary in Wanganui! It is so beautiful to see so many blue cloaked girls kneeling up the front of the Church on the first Sunday of each month for the Sodality Mass.
May 18th: The majority of our members formed a contingent for the annual pilgrimage to the statue at Paraparumu in honour of Our Lady. We all loaded into the white van and left Wanganui at 6am to arrive at our destination at 8.15am. We walked 20kms carrying the Sodality banner, singing hymns and praying the rosary. Some members even sang for the evening Mass to end the pilgrimage. On the way home we stopped for dinner and sang songs the whole trip back. A lovely day was had by all.
June: Sadly, we had to farewell one of our number early this month. Annie has sped across the seas to teach at Our Lady of Victories School in the Philippines. From all we hear, she has settled in well, and is “a great help” there. We had a little farewell gathering for her to let her know that we will not forget her. We sang a couple of traditional Maori songs and a song which we dedicated to her and this was followed by a small supper.
July: The first two days of July have already been very busy for the COM. In addition to the two feasts, we had two anniversaries to celebrate, a Day of Recollection and a long-awaited trip to Mt Egmont.
On the Feast of the Precious Blood, we had our very first Recollection Day. The plan is that this will be a stepping-stone towards having an annual 5-day retreat, as the Rule says we’re to have. The Councillors were asked to have a hand in organising the Day, including the music for the Sung Mass and the dinner afterwards. After just a little hair-pulling, it all came together in the end. We had four conferences followed by meditations in the Church which were led by Father. The topics for the conferences were: What it is to be a Child of Mary, making a good meditation, the virtue of purity and devotion to Our Lady.
Our recollection ended with Benediction and then we adjourned to the school to entertain our chaplain for the celebration of his fourth year of ordination. Our festivities began with a photo presentation of Father’s first year as our chaplain and then we sang a song which we had written about him. Everyone then progressed to the tennis club which has never looked more elegant! Our candle-lit dinner was complimented by damask tablecloths, fairy-lights and streamers! Dessert took the form of an immense, two-tiered, soccer-themed mocha cake! Father is renowned for his soccer and is known throughout Wanganui as “Pere Louis”. Dinner was followed by games – pictures will probably say more than words here. The day was rounded off with Compline (Dominican rite) in the church.
The next morning brought the Feast of the Visitation, the 8th anniversary of the COM in Wanganui. After a Sodality Mass and renewal of our consecration to our dear Mother, we had a speedy muffin-breakfast. We then packed ourselves into the big Red Bus, and Father drove us to Mount Egmont for a walk (with most of the convent tagging along!) Our Lady gave us a beautiful day, and the snow on the mountain was stunning! After lunch on the plateau, we descended the same path but all ended up coming back from different directions. During the entire day, there was only one injured ankle and the odd bruise. Oh, we did almost lose two of our company, but as it turned out, they had just been enjoying themselves on an extra detour.
For the journey back to Wanganui, we stopped for afternoon tea by a couple in the parish who own a farm not far from the mountain. What a wonderful afternoon! We were so very warmly welcomed, fed and entertained with hakas, songs, yodelling and story-telling! In our turn, Father told the story of the Battle of the Spurs, and we and the Sisters sang some of our favourite songs. Thank you so much to our dear hosts.
When we got back, the COM celebrated our anniversary in style with another fairy light dinner together at the tennis club. None of us were quite as energetic as the night before, so the games didn’t involve so much taping balloons onto each other, or covering books with one arm …
Next item on the year’s agenda: a party for August 11th, the Feast of St Philomena! What a mortified life we lead! All of this being said we do still meet once a fortnight for a spiritual talk from Father and we continue to visit the rest home once a month, do a Holy Hour every First Friday, clean the church, maintain Our Lady’s garden, clean for the elderly and we are now on the roster for arranging the Church flowers.