All posts by Cardinal John Dew

About Cardinal John Dew

Archbishop of Wellington: His Eminence Cardinal John Atcherley Dew DD

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…, 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.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 15 June 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

I have invited you to participate in the Synod consultation process which you are able to do either as individuals or in various groups. I am most grateful to those of you from around the diocese who have already sent in responses. At the heart of the process I have invited you to engage in is a deep and profound respect for one another. This respect come from the conviction that each of us can learn from another, that each of us may be an instrument of God’s Spirit.

In asking you to do this I want to tell you that I need to hear your words, spoken courageously and with humility from your hearts. I need to hear the words that have been given shape in prayer and reflection. I need to hear the words which have been prompted by the Holy Spirit and then spoken, knowing that they have come from the inspiration of God’s Spirit. This is happening in the submissions which have been coming in, and it is a joy to see people speaking up so honesty and constructively.

This current phase of the Synod process is vital for us if the Synod is to bear fruit. Therefore I really encourage everyone to participate prayerfully in this discernment time, with listening ears and with listening hearts. In these weeks our spoken words, and our listening must come from quiet prayer and a genuine openness to the experiences and vision of those who share their thoughts with us. Words that have been spoken over and over again may suddenly be heard as if for the first time, they may ring with a truth we have previously missed. If we listen with our hearts, as well as with our heads, I am sure that we will come to see our mission in a whole new way. We will then step out on a new direction which God challenges us to follow as we are sent out into the world taking Jesus and His Gospel with us.

With sincere thanks for all that you ae doing and with every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

“Let us offer each other a sign of peace:” – Homily Cardinal John Dew – 11 June 2017 (Commissioning of Fiona Rammell)

“Let us offer each other a sign of peace:”

We hear those words that at every Mass. The sign of peace is meant to show that we are at peace with one another, that we are one, that we are praying for peace and unity for the whole human family and that we are expressing our unity with one another before we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

The Sign of Peace. Sometimes referred to as the Kiss of Peace. There is nothing very intimate about our kiss of peace at Mass. It’s a sign, intended to be a gesture of peace and goodwill, acceptance of others, of love of others. It is not an intimate sign even though strangely our world craves intimacy.

Unfortunately the word intimate has lost its meaning. Intimacy in its deepest meaning is much more about our spirits than about any physical intimacy or physical relationship. The word “intimate” is actually about closeness of heart and mind, the word means “to make the innermost known.

In saying that the world craves intimacy I am saying that we look for love, a love that’s completely trustworthy, that we know is safe, that we know is true, a love that won’t be betrayed or taken for granted.

When we make our innermost hearts open to others; when we put our fears, our struggles our pains out there, it can be very frightening, we are left vulnerable because we can be taken advantage of and our love betrayed or deceived.

Sadly most human heartbreak stems from a desire for love and closeness, the heartbreak comes when love and trust is been mishandled, and where making the innermost known doesn’t happen any longer.

Real prayer is intimate. Meeting God in our own personal prayer, the way we celebrate the sacraments brings us close to God, God whom we acknowledge today as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God offers us an intimacy that can only give of itself because the nature of God is to give and to love and to seek nothing in return. God says: “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost.”

The Holy Trinity, the Blessed Trinity is perfect intimacy because the three persons of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in perfect love.

Very soon you will hear me say, when I commission Fiona as a Lay Pastoral Leader, that she is called to follow Jesus the beloved one, to reflect God’s very kindness in ministry to you, the people of God. Anyone who ministers in the name of the Church is asked to show God’s love to those they are called to serve. Whether a priest, lay pastoral leader, or any other form of ministry in the church….ministry is always about reflecting the kindness of God to others.

Over the last 12 years I have commissioned several lay pastoral leaders. At every commissioning I have done in the last 12 years I have emphasised the fact that our lay pastoral leaders work together with our priests. Therefore today I want you to know that Fiona is being commissioned to work with Fr James and not for Fr James. Fiona at the same time will not supersede your leadership, in fact she will help you to find ways to serve and to enhance your leadership because she knows that in being called to serve you she is to call forth your gifts. In doing that she will reflect the kindness of God.

We had a very short reading from St Paul to the Corinthians- “Be united live in peace in the God of love and peace will be with you.” When we look to serve one another in kindness, the God of love and peace will be with us. That reading also said, in a kind of a prayer or a blessing, “may the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

That is what Fiona and Fr James will be doing together. Whatever they work on, in whatever they serve this community of the Cathedral Parish they will be showing ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship or the communion of the Holy Spirit to each of you.”

If each one of us acknowledge the goodness and kindness of God, if we admit that our only true and deep intimacy comes from being at one with God, we will have no trouble being united, living in peace knowing that the God of love and peace is with us, and by our very lives we will show “the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to each and every one of us.”

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 1 June 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
This coming Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, we will hear a reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the story of Pentecost. Part of the reading says:
“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astound-ed, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travellers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
Those cities which are listed are much more than an amusing way to make the Sunday reader become tongue-tied or confused. The names listed, from Parthians through to Arabs, represented international visitors from around the Mediterranean world and beyond, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. We know that many of these international visi-tors went on to accept the Gospel. They provide us with an example, even today, of how nations and believers from all over the world heard the Gospel, believed it, accepted it and lived together as fellow Christians.
Our parish and school communities today are made up of people from many different countries. We speak dozens of dif-ferent languages and express ourselves very uniquely – even in prayer – but we have all been baptised and we have all re-ceived the same Spirit. Our parishes and schools are deeply blessed and enriched by the presence of people from all over the world.
At Pentecost “they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” We may also be con-fused at times if all we see and hear is a person from another country. We have all been gifted with the same Spirit. It does not matter where we come from. The Spirit is God’s Spirit and that is what unites us in speaking a language we all understand, the language of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
As we prepare for Pentecost Sunday we pray that the Spirit of God lives forever in our hearts, that the Spirit of God both comforts and disturbs us, and that above all the Spirit moves us always – no matter what part of the world we come from – to speak the language of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness and self- control, the language of the Holy Spirit.

With every blessing


Cardinal John’s Newsletter 18 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Last weekend the annual O’Shea Shield Competition was held at St Bernard’s College, Lower Hutt. Seven-teen Catholic Colleges from the Wellington and Palmerston North dioceses participated in this wonderful event of Debating, Oratory, Scripture Reading in both Te Reo and English, Impromptu Speech, Religious Drama, and Religious Questions. Congratulations to St Bernard’s, who won the 2017 O’Shea Shield Compe-tition, and congratulations to them also for their very generous hospitality to us all, as hosts of this year’s event.

The theme of the weekend was “Living in Harmony with God’s Creation”, inspired by the Encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si” (On the Care of our Common Home).
The Religious Questions topic was based on “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love), the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis from the two Synods on the Family. Having sat through those two very long Synods in Rome, where thousands and thousands of words were spoken, I have often wondered how many would read the re-sulting document. It was therefore a real honour to sit and listen to students of our Colleges respond so con-vincingly and with such understanding to questions about Amoris Laetitia. They had reflected deeply on the writings of Pope Francis, were very aware that this spoke about married love, and time and time again spoke of how moved they were by his writings!

As they responded to the Holy Father’s reflection on St Paul’s Hymn to Love in First Corinthians they spoke about how they were trying to apply this to their lives today. This was so gratifying and edifying to all present. Well done and congratulations.

Amoris Laetitia is worth reading, so rich in teaching, with much to reflect on for all of us. It is about love, and all of us are called to love.

With every blessing


The full newsletter can be viewed here.