Catholic Masses dedicated to Pike River miners

Catholic Churches around New Zealand are dedicating their daily Masses to the miners who lost their lives at the Pike River coal mine and to the miners' families, friends and loved ones.

St Patrick’s Church in Greymouth will hold a Mass for the miners on Friday 26 November at 12.10pm. The Church has had visitors throughout the day coming to light candles in memory of the miners. At this morning's Mass Parish Priest, Fr John Morrison, read out the following message from Pope Benedict XVI:

"The Holy Father was saddened to learn of the tragedy that has taken place at Pike River Mine, near Greymouth. His holiness shares the sorrow of the families and friends of the miners and he remembers all of them in a special way in his prayers. Upon everyone concerned the Holy Father cordially invokes Almighty God's blessings as a pledge of consolation and strength." Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State

Church bells were rung 29 times in the Diocese of Palmerston North and a Memorial Mass will be held for the miners next Wednesday (1 December) at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.

In Wellington the names of the miners were read out at a Mass at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland has a memorial set up with candles and also dedicated its daily Mass to the miners.

There will be a message read out at all weekend Masses in the Christchurch diocese. Christchurch Bishop Barry Jones has also written prayers which will be sent to all Catholic parishes in New Zealand for use at weekend Masses.

New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops have written a message conveying their sympathies and support for those affected by the tragedy.

The New Zealand Catholic Education Office has put together a prayer resource for use in schools, which can be adapted to suit other situations.