All posts by Frank Doherty

About Frank Doherty

Parish Secretary

The Cathedral Connection Christmas 2017 & January 2018

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The piece that brings us peace

In the waiting area at Wellington’s cancer clinic is a large jigsaw puzzle. Pieces are put in place throughout the day as people either await appointments or those they’ve accompanied to the clinic. Sharing responsibility for the puzzle is more than a way of passing the time: the activity quietly links those who share the uncertainty and anxiety that illness brings.

Piecing together any puzzle on your own can be frustrating and is often impossible.  We need help for most things and especially when it comes to meaning. What’s life all about?  Where is my own life going – and why?

For Christians, Christmas offers the last piece of the puzzle. The gift of God in Jesus is an exact fit, presenting us with the whole picture. I have come that you may have life in its fullness, Jesus tells us. Holding that to be true, is key to an understanding of life, providing a context for the uncertainties and anxieties that are bound to confront us.

God loved the world so much that help could be delayed no longer. The coming of Jesus, clothed with humanity and born as we are born, reveals a God opening a path to perfection, made easy with the balm of mercy and the tenderness of a parent’s love. His message that we should love one another as he has loved us gives us a reason to bond together in mutual trust and service. It is in this “revelation” that we find all the meaning we will ever need.

Greetings and blessings to all who come to celebrate the Christmas festival. In this mystery of “God-with-us” you will find the piece that fits exactly the space in your heart or the gap in your life. It is the gift of Jesus, his peace, that we instinctively long for and which he promises will last for ever.

Fr James Lyons            Fiona Rammell
Parish Priest                 Lay Pastoral Leader

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 24 December 2017

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Christmas (by John Betjeman)

 No love that in a family dwells

No caroling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare-

That God was man in Palestine

And lives today in Bread and Wine

 

On behalf of the priests and staff in the Wellington Central Pastoral area, I wish you all a happy, holy and safe Christmas.

Fr Ron

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The Cathedral Connection 17 December 2017

The full Parish newsletter can be viewed here.
The Parish School end of year newsletter can be viewed here.

WHEN THE FAMILY GATHERS

The 10.30am Mass today is a “Family Mass”. On this occasion, the younger children among us take leading roles in the celebration and, with just a week before Christmas, offer an interpretation of the Bethlehem story. This may mean some disruption, as the youngsters may not get everything in the right order, or may not be clearly heard by everyone. Perhaps their excitement will disturb the silence many are used to; others may find this Mass more informal than usual.

Yes, things may be a little different, but this is one occasion we should all “rejoice and be glad” to be part of. The fact that our children want to be with us older folk, and want to participate by sharing their understanding of the coming of Jesus, speaks well of their families and their schooling, and tells us the story of God’s love revealed in Jesus is very much alive for the next generation.

The scene might accurately portray the “chaos” not only of the first Christmas, when there was overcrowding and general mayhem, but the situation when any family gets together. Noisy arrivals, constant chatter, kitchen mess, bedding everywhere, excitement and nonsense! There might be exhaustion at the end but no one really minds. It was so lovely just being together!

This is my prayer for our parish family as we near Christmas and on into 2018:

May we each know the strength of togetherness and be grateful for
our differences. May we pause in our busyness to look in wonder
at the beauty about us. May we honour the poverty of the
first Christmas and know the richness of the peace it brings.
May we welcome laughter, gift joy to every moment, give thanks for
everything and journey on with hope-filled hearts.

Fr James

 

THE WAY TO A QUIET HEART

THE WAY TO A QUIET HEART

HOMILY – 2 ADVENT [B] 2017                                      [Mark 1:1-8]

Last Tuesday I joined other priests from the archdiocese for an Advent Retreat Day.  As part of the reflection we were asked to consider what we each find most life-giving on a daily basis, and also what we find as non-life-giving.  In other words, what inspires and encourages me and what threatens or discourages or holds back my life.

That’s not a difficult task, but if you’re serious about wanting to know yourself better then you can quickly feel challenged as the image you have of yourself gets peeled away by some honest soul-searching.  For any of us, what gives us life is what enable us to have and hold inner peace, and anything that disturbs or damages that peace does not contribute to life.  When you start probing your own motivation and experience, things can get a bit scary.

As we enter the second week of Advent, the readings call us to get rid of whatever blocks the way to a quiet heart.  There are two barriers that stand in our way: the time barrier that denies access to quietness and rest, pushing an exhausting pace; and the independent barrier that traps us into thinking that no one matters more than me – that my comfort, my opinion, my rights must always take priority.  Neither barriers lead to peace.

There’s a beautiful and tender intimacy in the prophet Isaiah’s description of God reaching out to the world, to console, to hold close, to reassure and to calm fears.  Like a shepherd feeding the flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.  We warm to such an image.  It’s affection, love, concern and caring unselfish attention that inspire confidence and trust, and through which we find peace.

A tv commercial has children saying what they would like for Christmas.

Many toys are requested, but then a little girl in hospital says, what I want for Christmas is to be able to go home.  To be at home for Christmas is another image that speaks to us of peace and comfort, being known and loved for myself.  Life doesn’t get better than when you’re at home with yourself.

There’s a new word in the building industry: deconstruction.  We see it in action close by as the Defence HQ building is carefully taken down; not pummelled and pulverised but carefully and painstakingly removed.  Making a straight path for the Lord, filling in valleys and levelling the hills, creating space for peace, is an exercise in de-construction.  The pressure of time and the social emphasis on independence are barriers that cannot be crushed overnight, but Advent invites us to think about priorities, to reach inward to reconnect with the loving, gentle shepherd, and to reach outward to touch whatever needs healing with an active concern to make things better, to be life-giving in every conversation and every contact with others.

Little by little you can de-construct what is not life-giving for you, enabling re-construction to be better planned, longer lasting… [Reconciliation opportunity]

One of the things that gives me life is my contact with people – with you – and the life you so generously share with me   What do I find non-life-giving? : my own lack of patience and the pettiness, that can so quickly create a problem out of nothing.  For me and for you there are many barriers eager to block the path to inner peace, to a fullness of life.  Don’t let Advent disappear without at least beginning the de-construction process.

Free the shepherd in you to show that your ability to care is much wider than the narrow band of self-interest.  With the barrier to inner peace overcome there’ll be nothing to hold you back from being home for Christmas.

The Cathedral Connection 10 December 2017

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The weather lately has been amazing. It is only the start of summer and already there is talk of a drought. This shows how important water is. We drink it, we shower in it, we swim in it, we are even made up of it.

So it comes as no surprise that something so central to our survival is used by John to baptise his followers. To understand this Gospel a little more let’s just turn our attention to John. The family John came from was an upstanding family in the Temple who would no doubt have expected their son to follow in their footsteps as an elder in the Church. However, John chooses to not take part in the religious hype and ceremony that was waiting for him. He chose differently. After many years living as a hermit he came back to his people with a message of repentance. He caught their attention and his call to change their lives. This is quite a Gospel story in that in order for John to get to this point he has stepped beyond the bounds of his religious tradition to show people that God’s love is as available to the people as the water is available in the river.

Why may you ask did he do this? Perhaps the law was becoming more of an obstacle course preventing people from experiencing the love of God that was already theirs.

When we experience the mercy and presence and availability of God then we will do good things. It just follows like night follows day. We need to have an earthquake in the heart and our minds to wake us to the fact that we do not do anything to earn God’s love. It is simply given.

For most of us we have experienced a Baptism of water. But how many of us have experienced a baptism of an inner knowledge of infinite love? Once we have, then everything else falls in to place.

Fiona
Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here.