Feast day prayers for St Mary’s

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PICTURE: Rebekah Fraser

A flurry of balloons took to the skies yesterday, carrying with them the hopes and prayers of the St Mary’s Catholic parish and school. As the church bells began to toll, parish members and pupils released 120 blue and white balloons to mark the feast day of the Virgin Mary. The balloons also carried special messages and prayers asking for the beloved church to be reopened. The 99-year-old St Mary’s Church, listed as a category 1 Historic Places Trust building, was closed suddenly in June 2012 because of earthquake
concerns. It will cost $1.6 million to bring it up to building standards, and the Christchurch Catholic
diocese, as owner, is only willing to contribute $400,000. The balance will have to be raised by grants from governmental and non-governmental organisations, and contributions from the community.