The Cathedral Connection 21 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Priests engaged in ministry in our archdiocese gathered this week in Wellington for two days’ reflection and renewal. Two critical aspects of their pastoral work, the Homily and the Eucharistic Prayer, were given special attention.

Pope Francis, in his Evangelii Gaudium – the Joy of the Gospel – has given priests some strong reminders of what the homily is and is not. It is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people…and should be a consoling encounter with God’s word. It is not entertainment…and the preacher’s words must not become more important than the celebration of faith.

The preacher has the wonderful but difficult task of joining loving hearts, the hearts of the Lord and his people. This cannot be done by presenting “detached ideas” which say nothing of what lies in the heart of the preacher.

The Pope is himself a good model for preachers. His skill in helping people feel they are deeply loved by God, is matched by his ability to appeal to imagery with simple, clear language. In a recent interview he spoke about the misuse of power with an image that has immediate impact: Power without humility, he said, is like drinking gin on an empty stomach – you feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you end up hurting yourself and everyone around you!

In a beautiful, affirming passage (para. 151) he says the priest is not asked to be flawless, but to keep growing and wanting to grow along the path of the Gospel. I am never to forget that God loves me, that Jesus Christ has saved me, and that his love has always the last word.

My own preaching is also greatly helped by your loving support which has given me honest appraisal and a true sense of purpose and belonging.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.