Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 17 May 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Greetings and all good wishes from Portugal. I have been on the road for 11 days now and have arrived at a small town called Mealhada, having now walked 284 kms.
I have been reminded again, as I was reminded when I walked the Camino eight years ago, that many people make pilgrimages and have done so for hundreds of years.
Pilgrimages are traditionally journeys to a holy place — a place where saints have walked, a place where God has met people and blessed them. For Catholics it may be
Jerusalem, Rome, Fatima, Compostella; there are of course also many pilgrimage sites for people of other faiths. People through the ages have journeyed with God
on pilgrimage — to perform a penance, to ask for healing, to pray for places where there is war or national disaster, to pray for friends, or as I am doing to pray for vocations.
Pilgrimages are opportunities to travel lightly, to walk free of daily routines, to meet people, to make friends, to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation. An opportunity, too, in the
travelling, the conversations and the silences to reflect on the journey of our lives and on our journey homewards to God. This is proving to be a kind of retreat for me, and I
am getting good exercise at the same time; it is wonderfully relaxing spiritually rewarding.

I have a number of prayers I pray each day, and many things I am recording in my Prayer Journal. I share one of the prayers with you with the prayer for you that it may
help you on your life’s pilgrimage.

God of the guiding star, the bush that blazes
Show me your WAY.
God of the stormy seas, the bread that nourishes
Teach me your TRUTH.
God of the still, small voice, the wind that blows where it chooses
Fill me with LIFE.
God of the elements, of our inward and outward journeys
Set my feet on your road today.
May God bless me with a safe journey,
May the angels and saints travel with me
May I live this day in justice and joy.

With every blessing
+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 3 May 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
Today we finish our meeting of the Bishops Confer-ence in Auckland and I fly out of New Zealand for five weeks.

As many of you know I walked the Camino eight years ago, leaving St Jen Pied de Port in France, up over the Pyrenees and on to Santiago de Compostella which I reached 30 days later and after almost 900 kilometres of walking. This is known as the “French Camino”.

On Sunday 6 May I will begin walking from Lisbon to Compostella, the same place as last time, but this time it will be the “Portuguese Camino”. In 2010 my intention as I walked, prayed and reflected on this ancient pilgrimage was to pray for vocations to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Wellington. I will be doing the same this time. You might like to join me in praying for Vocations as I walk to what is re-membered as the tomb of St James.

The Camino was a wonderful experience for me last time. I appreciated the time to walk and pray, to reflect and ponder as well as meeting many other pilgrims along the road and generally thinking about life’s pilgrimage. I am sure that these next few weeks will be just as blessed as last time. It was very much like a retreat last time, and there are images and mo-ments of discovery fixed very clearly and vividly in my mind, some of them are as clear and sharp—and just as important as images and discoveries I made on a 30 Day retreat over thirty years ago.

I will be carrying a little book with me entitled “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino.” For each day of the pilgrimage this guide book has much practical information, with a section called “The Practical Path” and another called “The Mystical Path”. One of the day’s Mystical Path reflections says this:

“Have you found the waymark that points you in the direction of our true Destination? Does it look famil-iar or are you left in doubt as to the right course to take? One thing is certain, it will only be found by following the wisdom of the heart. Everything we see with the physical eye is likely to lead as away from the mystical. We have become intoxicated with the things of this world and fallen into a deep stupor. We search for relics housed in stone buildings that mask the true home of spirit. We have forgotten the way Home …….”

There are many such reflections. I will have plenty of time to pray and ponder, to reflect and to give thanks. You will all be with me as I journey on pilgrimage to the tomb of St James.

With every blessing.

+ John

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 19 April 2018

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From +John…

Dear Friends
In his first major document “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis told us that if we are to evangelize we must start by “renewing our personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” (EG 3) That was in 2013. Pope Francis has written another document called Gaudete et Exsultate, which is on the call to holiness in the world today. In this latest apostolic exhortation, he is telling us how to renew our personal encounter with Jesus.

As far back as 1975 Pope Paul VI wrote an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Nuntiandi. In that he told us of the need to “deepen, consolidate and nourish” our faith and allow it to mature (EN 54). There is clearly a need for all of us to keep growing in faith, to deepen our under-standing, to come to a greater appreciation of what we believe.

Every one of us is obliged in some way to keep reading, to do some study, to change our ways of praying in order to grow in our relationship with God. In his exhortation Paul VI suggested that we seek the kingdom, build it up, live it and pro-claim it (EN 8/13). In this new document Pope Francis tells us that growing in personal holiness cannot be separated from building the Kingdom of God. Our Christian life, our choice to live as disciples of Jesus demands that we live and show in words and deeds what we claim to profess. We know that we are not all called to be teachers or preachers, but we need to be able to offer some reasons for the hope that is in us (c/f 1 Peter 3.15)

Last year we had the Archdiocesan Synod with the theme “Go You Are Sent.” It was very clear from the discernment and the sharing, before, during and after the Synod, that if we want to respond generously to the call and to be “sent out,” if we want to be serious about “mission effectiveness” then we need to grow in our understanding and appreciation of our faith. We need to be holy people. Pope Francis’ new letter will help us to do this, as it sets holiness in the context of daily life. He gives us “five great expressions” of love of God and neighbour that he considers particularly important. They are:

Perseverance, patience and meekness
Joy and a sense of humour
Boldness and passion
In community
In constant prayer

Please make an effort to read, study and pray with Gaudete et Exsultate. There is a link to this on the homepage of the Vatican website.

With every blessing.

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 5 April 2018

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Dear Friends,

Easter blessings to you all.

In my last newsletter, I wrote about the words of St Paul “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27) I also went on to talk about how, as the years go by, and we celebrate another Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday we simply delve deeper and deeper into its richness and meaning. In delving deeper and deeper into the mystery we grow in love, understanding and appreciation of the mystery of God in our own lives.

I have heard over the last few days many wonderful comments about beautiful liturgies celebrated around the parishes over Easter. Thank you to all who prepared those liturgies and worked hard to make them a prayerful and reflective experience for all. These days have certainly provided the opportunity to experience the mystery of Christ among us.

It is my hope and prayer that each of you has been graced in some special way this Easter, graced and loved by the actions and love of Christ himself. I can only hope that Easter has touched me in such a way that I want to respond in a more generous and gracious way to the events of daily life, the routine and mundane situations where God is also present. Because this is about God’s goodness I don’t just want this for myself, I want it for everyone in this Church of Wellington to which we all belong.

Easter, is not just the few days of ceremonies and then we go about our daily lives again. As we delve deeper into these mysteries we come to understand that we too die to the things we want and are attracted to, and in letting them go we find a new life. We find life gifted, graced with Jesus who still stands among us and says “Peace be with you.”
May His Peace and abundant blessings be your this Easter.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 March 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
I am always amused when at Christmas and Easter so many people say, “this is of course your busy time of the year.” I am amused because for me it is not. I celebrate the liturgies, prepare many homilies, but I never see it as busy. I see it as an incredible privilege to be with God’s people and to celebrate together, to remember what God is doing among us. I have always been fascinated by the words of St Paul to the Colossians; “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27) Whatever we come together to
celebrate, Christmas, Easter, Ordinary Sundays of the Year, Solemnities of Christ, Feasts of Our Lady, the Apostles, the Saints, whatever it is Christ is among us and we are remembering.

All liturgical prayer is an act of remembering. Specifically, for us Christians, this prayer remembers Christ’s saving mystery, the paschal Mystery. As mystery Christ’s saving act can never be exhausted. The wonderful thing about it is that over time, as the years go by and we celebrate another Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday we simply delve deeper and deeper into its richness and meaning. We come to understand the paschal mystery as Jesus’ passing through death to risen life. It’s true, it is that, but the mystery is much deeper and broader. The paschal mystery is not only about Christ, it is also about us.

St Paul makes it abundantly clear that at baptism we are plunged into what we call the paschal mystery (which actually doesn’t begin with Jesus death, but with His Incarnation).

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into this death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into his death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so too we might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 3-4)

Over the coming days we will celebrate and remember the mystery of Jesus Christ passing from death to life. It is our mystery too. This mystery describes how we live from day to day as disciples of Jesus. This is who we are and how we are to live as faithful followers of Christ. It means that we need to ask ourselves every day, probably several times a day: “Am I living through Him and with Him and In Him.”

When we can say from time to time “Yes, I am living through Him and with Him and In Him,” then we know “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27)

With every blessing
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.