All posts by Cardinal John Dew

About Cardinal John Dew

Archbishop of Wellington: His Eminence Cardinal John Atcherley Dew DD

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 10 August 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Former New Zealand Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark response to a question put to her recently about the role of religion in addressing the world’s problems was:

“Absolutely critical and I say that as a person of no faith whatsoever, but most people aren’t like me. Most people do have some adherence to faith and so faith communities have enormous influence.” She then spoke particularly of the influence of Pope Francis. “You take a faith leader like the Pope. He has influence that transcends religion. I said to someone the other day, ‘I am not a religious person but thank God for the Pope”.

About this time last year she said something very similar when she named the Pope as the most inspirational leader in the world at the moment. Her words were:
I look, for example, around the world at who is provid-ing a sense of inspiration and hope at the moment. It’s the Pope. I am not a Catholic but I recognise in this man tremendous goodness. A voice of sanity in a trou-bled world, often speaking what we all feel but could not express as eloquently. So, yes, leadership matters.

Pope Francis is giving great leadership. One of the topics for our Synod next month is “Go you are sent to find new leaders. There were many responses sent in as part of the consultation on the Synod material. Two of the responses that came in about “leadership” said the following:
“Servant leaders who delegate and support, challenge others, listen and respond to minority groups, teach others to be leaders.”

“There are different types of leaders – upfront leaders who are our clergy, presidents, chairpersons, who guide our organizations. They are the Light of the World. There are also behind the scenes leaders who quietly use their own talents and encourage others to do like-wise. They are the Salt of the Earth.”
There are multiple ways in which people in our parishes and schools are able to be leaders. It is not just the priests in the parishes or the principals in the schools who are called to leadership. We rely on people for Parish Councils, Finance Committees, Liturgy Committees, Vincent de Paul, School Boards of Trustees (these are just a few examples) endless organizations in the Church. Finding new ways to lead and to enable others to lead is vital today. Helen Clark sees Pope Francis as an inspi-rational leader and she speaks of how “leadership mat-ters.”

We can all be leaders in different ways. Some are the “Light of the world,” others are “the salt of the earth.” Actually Jesus tells us that we are both. (Matthew 5: 13-16)
How are you showing leadership today and how will you show leadership in the future?
With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 27 July 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
I can still remember the day when as a seminarian I discovered these words in the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians; “Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be inno-cent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.” (Phil 2:14-15) Those words had a powerful impact on me back in 1971. I have been conscious of them ever since and have always tried not to complain or argue, but have not always succeeded!

I was reminded of those words of St Paul when I read an article on Rome Reports a few days ago about the poster which Pope Francis had posted on his door in Casa Santa Marta.

The Rome Report read: ‘Pope hangs a sign on the door of his room: “No Whining”’ It then went on to say that the Pope put the poster on his door either because it’s the summer and the Pope is in a good mood, or because he is tired of hearing people turn complaining into a sport. Under the Italian heading VIETATO LAMENTARSI the words read:
“Offenders are subjected to syndrome of victimism that lowers the mood and the ability to solve problems.”

It says that “sanction is doubled if the offense is committed in the presence of children” and concludes with a hopeful message: “To become the best version of yourself, you must focus on your own potential and not on your own limits, so stop complaining and act to change your life for the better.”

Evidently Pope Francis was given the poster a month or so ago after one of his General Audiences in St Peter’s Square by the psychologist Salvo Noè. I believe that this is a message that summarizes Pope Francis’ thoughts, and highlights the way he runs his pontificate.
When I read this particular Rome Report I knew that this was a good lesson for me, and maybe it is a good lesson for all of us.

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 13 July 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Last year at World Youth Day in Poland Pope Francis said to the young people of the world: “Get off your couch, put on your walking shoes and set off on new and uncharted paths.”

Almost a year later parishes all over France are taking Pope Francis at his word. They evidently understand that, for many, the summer is a time for spiritual replenishment: the awakening or reawakening of one’s faith, the recovery and enhancement of one’s faith.

In some places in France people will take part in open-air masses or in “spiritual breaks”. These “breaks” consist of days of hiking, and reflection on the theme of protecting the natural environment (Laudato Si).

Other parishes have planned weekly walking tours to the seven chapels on the high plateau of Gavot, which offers breath-taking views.

Such spiritual experiences and activities in the mountains benefit both the body and soul, encourage visitors to turn or return to prayer.

It is not summer here in New Zealand, far from it, but any time is the right time for reawakening our faith. The Holy Father’s words apply to us too “Get off your couch, put on your walking shoes and set off on new and uncharted paths.” 

In these winter months we may not feel like heading out for a walk, setting off on new and uncharted paths. But it may be the very thing which gives us a new perspective on life, exercise and food for the soul.

The Encyclical Laudato Si gives us some very specific and practical examples, which are good for us as human beings and for God’s created world. For example: Get back to nature – “the caress of God” – to recharge. Be more atten-tive to its beauty and wonder and revisit places that left you with happy memories. (LS 84, 97, 215, 233)

Plant a tree. Take public transport, or walk. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Chilly, wear a sweater. Little things add up. (LS 211)

Less is more. Stop needless consumption (LS 193, 203, 222)

Get to know the poor and suffering; it will wake up a numbed conscience and inspire real action. (LS 49), Sing as you go. (LS 244)

Nothing stops us “walking uncharted paths.” Some winter activities may re-awaken our faith so that it does not lie dormant, as some plants do in winter.

With every blessing
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Homily by Cardinal John Dew for Central Pastoral Area Confirmation Mass

Confirmation Homiily 2017

Earlier this year I saw a wonderful YouTube clip of a few people telling the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, how much they appreciated her during her eight years as First Lady. It was a wonderful little video, they spoke to a portrait of her, and actually had no idea that she was standing behind it listening to them, then. She walked out and totally surprised them. One of the men, a man married with two young children told her that he loved to let his children listen to her speeches. He said there is always a theme and he said, “It is kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness.”

Just a few weeks ago a new President of France was elected, in some of his campaigning to be elected he several times spoke about calling the French people to be people of kindness, each time he did that he made his arms into the shape of a cross.

A famous Roman poet of hundreds of year ago, Seneca, once wrote; “Where-ever there is a human being there is a opportunity for kindness”

Today (number) are being confirmed, are being gifted by God with the gift of the Holy Spirit….we know that when the Spirit of God, the same Spirit that was in the heart of Jesus, when that Spirit lives in our hearts as he will do from today onwards for all these young people….we will be different people. “What the Spirit brings is very different; love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, trustfulness and self-control.” We are all able to be all those things, because God’s Spirit is given to us at Baptism, and renewed and strengthened in Confirmation, and every time we pray.

I would be prepared to take a bet that like that father of two young children who thanked Michele Obama for her speeches with the thread of kindness running through them. That parents here today too would want the same for your children, for these children being Confirmed today.

Maybe a simple way to help one another to be kind, and certainly for parents to help their children to be kind would be at the end of every day to ask some simple questions. Questions such as “Who did you help today? Who were you kind to today?”   Or “Whom did you fail to help today, who were you unkind too?”

There was a Professor of Special Education in the United States who dealt especially with children with learning difficulties, his name was Leo Buscaglia. His writings all came down to something very simple and practical. He once wrote: “Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Most of us want to be able to offer a kind word, a listening ear, a small act of caring. Most of us want to be able to live by being people of kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness……..but we can’t do it on our own. We need God’s help, the strength of God’s grace

When the new President of France spoke of the French people being “people of kindness” he used to stretch out his arms in the shape of a cross. It was only after Jesus stretched out his arms on the Cross that he was able to give us His Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is not always easy for us to be kind, we need to make and effort, to stretch out our arms and forget about ourselves…..put others first and show kindness.

Love and kindness are never wasted; love and kindness always make a difference. Love and kindness actually bless the Person who receives them from us, a family member, a friend, a classmate….but the very action of showing love and kindness to others bless us too.

Saint Paul gave us a list of words that we call the Fruits of the Holy Spirit…I have already mentioned them…..love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, trustfulness and self-control……he tells us that they are the things the Holy Spirit brings into our lives. If the Holy Spirit brought only one of theism into our lives we would be people of great richness and blessings

Maybe a good thing to remind ourselves of and to ask the Holy Spirit to give us every day is that fruit of kindness

As was said of the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama……”your speeches are always kindness, kindness, always kindness, nothing but kindness.”

And as the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron said “Let us be people of kindness.”

I have told you about Michelle Obama, Emmanuel Macron, a Roman poet- Seneca, I want to finish with a prayer Pope Francis said we all should be praying each day.

“Holy Spirit, may my heart be open to the Word of God, may my heart be open to good, and may my heart be open to the beauty of God, every day.”

If we pray that prayer every day the Holy Spirit will help us to be people of kindness.