All posts by Frank Doherty

About Frank Doherty

Parish Secretary

Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


A special moment in the journey from conflict to reunion between Lutherans and Catholics will be witnessed next Sunday afternoon (4 June) in Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Lutheran Bishop, Mark Whitfield, and Cardinal John Dew will lead the two communities in a service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Year of Reformation.  Themes of thanksgiving, repentance, common witness and commitment will draw on traditions we hold in common.

A highlight will be the introduction of a formal dialogue between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in New Zealand.

It is wonderful to note that the journey towards each other has grown in momentum these past 50 years through what is obviously a Holy Spirit-driven ecumenical season.  We have come to appreciate that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.  With greater understanding, trust has blossomed while old prejudices have faded.

Two weeks ago I spoke at St Paul’s Lutheran Church about the relationship between Luther and Rome.  In my preparation I was surprised to discover Luther’s “Theology of Joy” which he expressed in his pastoral letters and preaching.  It sits easily with Pope Francis’ emphasis on joy, as he encourages everyone to open themselves to the “Joy of the Gospel” and the “Joy of Love”.

Our times are witnessing a definite climate shift from intolerance to an atmosphere of friendly contact and participation in everything we can share together.  The unity for which Jesus Christ prayed is surely within our grasp.

Next Sunday’s service at the cathedral is at 3.00pm.  Please come and support this timely initiative.  Be part of an historic moment in New Zealand inter-church relationships.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

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.

The Cathedral Connection 14 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Photographic technology, as we all know, is developing at exponential leaps and bounds.  In recent years the phenomenon of “selfies” is now legion, even Pope Francis being swept along in this photographic avalanche.

Little known though, is that “selfies” are not a modern invention.  They were anticipated some 2000 years ago with the purported burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.  This relic, with manifold converging evidence pointing to its authenticity, replicates the frontal and dorsal aspects of a naked, scourged and crucified corpse, in all probability that of Jesus.

As technology breathlessly tries to catch up with history we find, encoded in the Shroud image, an intricate 3-D imprint of a bearded, handsome and pony-tailed man of impressive physique, though bruised, tortured and impaled!  The Shroud has been called the fifth gospel and its gift and emphasis is to underscore and highlight the bodily Resurrection of Jesus.  Ray Downing, a 3-D CGI artist, has birthed from the ancient linen cloth the most accurate likeness of Jesus ever created.

The bodily Resurrection of Jesus, what we celebrate with Easter, is an affirmation of his claims about himself, that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  The bodily Resurrection of Jesus is the affirmation of the claims the Church itself makes, as his risen presence in the world today and the sacrament of salvation.  It is also an affirmation of the goodness, truth, beauty and unity of our own identity as en-fleshed spirits, souls emanating physicality, and our destiny to continue to be that way, with a resurrected body on the last day and forever.  The season of Easter opens and proclaims Christ as the only way to the Father.

Fr Tony Dunn (Auckland)

The full newsletter can be viewed here.