Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 10 August 2017

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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

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 27 July 2017

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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

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 13 July 2017

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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

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 15 June 2017

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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.