All posts by Frank Doherty

About Frank Doherty

Parish Secretary

The Cathedral Connection 19 November 2017

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As last year’s Year of Mercy drew to a close, Pope Francis had “an intuition” to call the whole Church to a “World Day of the Poor”. This would be on the Sunday prior to the festival of Christ the King “who identified Himself with the little ones and who will judge us on the works of mercy.”

The Pope explained it would be a day for each baptised person to reflect on “the way in which poverty is at the heart of the Gospel (leading each to) a pastoral conversion to be a witness of mercy.”

On this first World Day of the Poor, Cardinal John offers a reflection on the theme which will be screened at each Mass. He reminds us we do not live in the dark but in the light of Jesus Christ, “so we cannot claim ignorance of the struggles that people face in coping with daily life.”

Called to be stewards of the gifts with which we have been blessed, we can each help to overcome the difficulties of one another. There is generally good support for our weekly “Food Bank”, but the poor are not only those lacking food or shelter.  Pope Francis illustrates the broader sweep of poverty:

Blessed are the open hands that embrace the poor, bringing hope.
Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity.
Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange –
These are hands that call down blessings on their brothers and sisters.

All this is showing us that the witness of mercy is only truly given in deeds and action and rarely in words alone.

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 12 November 2017

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Have you ever wondered why the bridesmaids in today’s parable, didn’t share their oil with the bridesmaids who didn’t have enough? Perhaps they missed the memo to do to others what you would want done to you.

Is there is a deeper meaning here?  Maybe the oil is representing not something to share but something that is already ours.

I remember saying to my children you can’t have my faith. You need a faith of your own. What if the oil represents our faith?  Understanding the Gospel in this way turns it on its head. Just as I cannot give my maths ability (which has taken years of study to achieve), to someone else, so too, I cannot give my faith to someone else.

Each one of us needs to cultivate our own faith and we do this by being prepared, staying awake and with an awareness of the importance of remaining connected to God and present to all that is around us – God’s love shown in so many different ways.

So when the lamp (us) is full of oil (God’s love) we can be light (love) to those we meet. And to do this we choose (free will) whether to fill our lamps with oil or not. How we fill our lamps is unique to each one of us but no one else can do the filling for us. We cannot live a life of faith by proxy, but by being fully aware and part of the process.

We are responsible for our own oil which then will keep our light burning brightly in anticipation of the great feast that we are already part of and one day will share with everyone.

The practice of Lectio Divina which we experienced a few weeks ago was one way of keeping oil in our lamps. What other ways do you ensure you have enough “oil” in your “lamp” so you can burn brightly with love to all those you meet?

Fiona Rammell,
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 5 November 2017

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Fr John Berry was parish priest of our Cathedral Parish from 1997 to 2004. He died last week, 26 October, after some years of ill health and care in the Home of Compassion, Silverstream. His Requiem Mass was in the Cathedral he served and loved so faithfully, on Friday 3 November.

It is difficult to summarise the life of a priest. His ministry is among people and within the circumstances, concerns and even contradictions of their lives. He meets their sorrows and their joys, and holds confidences which he can never share. His own personality can be interpreted or experienced according to the variety of roles in which he is placed. He is a public figure for whom privacy can be elusive. He is an individual who lives for the common good.

From the tributes given Fr John, it is apparent that he lived his priesthood with great generosity, touching the lives of people with compassion and empathy. I knew him as priest eager to give his best. He placed his communication and music skills at the service of God’s people with humour and delightful energy and brought dignity and grace to the liturgy. He lived a life of stewardship.

For all this, he offered his priesthood without favour, meaning that each person could perhaps have a different appreciation of his work. That is why an accurate summary is so difficult. What is most important now, is to thank God for the priestly ministry that meant so much to John Berry and to those he served, to pray for him as he enters the reign of God he lived for, and to encourage others to take his place in our crazy, difficult to define but extraordinarily wonderful priesthood!

Fr James

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 29 October 2017

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I remember a computer course I did in my University days.  Before we could get the computer to do what we wanted it to do we had to write the code so it could perform the operation.  Windows interface had not yet been invented and when it was introduced what a difference that made to what we could do. Upgrading the operating system allowed us to do so much more.

Earlier in the year I was reflecting on how often Jesus took Himself off to a quiet place to just be. Was the practice His way of upgrading His operating system? What if this is what He meant by prayer – an opportunity to see things in a different light.  It’s not a matter of thinking nicer thoughts but enabling us to reach a different way of seeing things. So many of Jesus’ parables took this approach. He was asked a question and before he replied he took time to draw in the sand, or thought of an explanation that took the enquirer out of the mind and into the heart. It is prayer that gives us this third way of seeing. The transformational power that is inherent in prayer is rarely actioned. Just like the computer, an upgrade in our operating system is essential.

This weekend we have been asked to give ourselves time to ponder one Gospel passage. To let the word of God wash over and within us upgrades our thinking patterns by letting our heart (emotions) encounter our faith.

When we do this we allow God’s word to penetrate our inner being so that the transformative power of the word shines through us. Such a process takes time, dedication and a genuine desire. Let’s hope that by experiencing this way of praying in today’s Mass we may use it as a launch pad into making it a regular occurrence. Then we will find, as in today’s Gospel, that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbour as ourselves will become the norm and not the exception.


Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader
Sacred Heart Cathedral

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