Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 20 April 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
Easter Blessings to you all. I hope that all went well for everyone, that the ceremonies were times of great blessing, and that you managed to get some rest after Easter. May this Easter season continue to be a time of joy and deep peace as the Risen Lord stands among us and greets us so often with “Peace be with you”.
At this year’s Chrism Mass I said that I want and I invite as many peo-ple as possible to participate in this year’s Synod. 350 people will attend the weekend in September, but thousands are able to participate in the process preceding the Synod. I hope too that thousands will pray , be-cause “we are a people together”.
Our preparation for the Synod becomes more intense over the next few months. Parishes have been asked to nominate their Synod participants by 1 May. There will be two pre-Synod sessions in May, one for the South Island parishes at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Centre in Richmond on Saturday 20 May from 12.30pm-3.30pm, and the other for North Island parishes at Bishop Viard College on Saturday 27 May from 1.30pm-4.30pm. These two pre-Synod sessions are for everyone, not just the participants who will take part in the Synod weekend. The sessions will provide a background to the Synod, and give those who attend the opportunity to experience the prayerful discernment process which will be the basis of the participation process in parishes and at the Synod itself. I ask those involved in parish pastoral councils, clergy, and lay pastoral leaders to encourage parishioners to come to the pre-Synod session in their area.
In the participation process which begins in early May thousands of people across the Archdiocese will have the opportunity to take part in a prayerful process of listening to one another and discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying. The material for this process will be made availa-ble in the first week of May. I want as many people as possible to take part in this stage of the Synod, as it will set the agenda and provide the material for the Synod weekend. I strongly encourage people to engage with the Synod topics, and to send in their thoughts, either individually or as part of a group.
As I also said in my Chrism Mass homily I hope that thousands of people will pray for the Synod. I can’t emphasize this enough, and ask that you pray and encourage others to pray.
We know that the Risen Jesus is with us, that he assures us of the gift of his Spirit, and that he gives us his peace and tells us over and over again “Be not afraid” and “I am with you always”. Please consider how you might take part in the preparation for the Synod, please pray.
With Easter blessings
+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 6 April 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends

“Jesus Christ,” said Pascal, “will be in his death throes till the end of the world.” As we have drawn closer to Holy Week and therefore Good Friday, I have been thinking about the LAMPEDUSA CROSS which Pope Francis gave to the 19 Anglican and 19 Catholic Bishops last October when we were at the IARCCUM Meeting. I have been wondering how I might be able to use this cross on Good Friday. These crosses have been made from the wreckage of lifeboats washed up on the Island of Lampedusa. It is the place many refugees have tried to reach, often in flimsy and overcrowded boats, many drowning on the way.

The cross is a visible reminder of the terrible suffering of those people, in life and in death. In the thousands of people who have drowned, Jesus Christ has once again been “in his death throes.” Wherever people suffer, are persecuted, treated like slaves, or even ridiculed or made fun of, wherever people are treated without the dignity every human being deserves, Jesus is “in his death throes.”

As we prepare to participate in these Sacred days we are invited to journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, to the room of the Last Supper, to Gethsemane and Calvary. This means that we are invited to pray and reflect, to identify with Jesus in his suffering and agony, AND to be aware of the millions throughout the world who suffer and die. Those millions may not be suffering and dying in dramatic ways; they may be in our streets and even in our homes, desperate people looking to us, begging for a sign of hope and a touch or a look of love and kindness. When human beings suffer in any way at all “Jesus Christ will be in his death throes till the end of the world.”

Even the horror of the Lampedusa Cross is not the final word. We don’t just go to the Good Friday Passion ceremony, we mourn and wait on Holy Saturday, and then our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus reminds us that there is a future for every human being. God exists; that is the real meaning of Easter. “Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

May the days of Holy Week and Easter be days of deep blessings and abundant peace.

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 23 March 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
The last two Saturdays have been spent in two different parishes, Ohariu and Marlborough. Along with other diocesan staff I have been in those parishes for Stewardship Workshops. They were both very well attended and there was wonderful participation by those present. Both times we have used the Gospel for the Sunday, one week the Transfiguration and then last Sunday’s Gospel story of the Woman at the Well. Using those Lenten Gospels started me thinking about other parts of the Gospel and Stewardship, and particularly about Lent and the lead up to Easter.

In trying to understand the true power of Stewardship I don’t think we need to look any further than the cross. The cross serves as a powerful example of giving everything away freely for God and for the people of God. The example of course is Jesus, Jesus who an-swered the call, regardless of the cost, the cost being life itself.

Most of us will never have to sacrifice our lives in response to God’s call. There are however Christians all around the world who do that every day. Missionaries in many places have faced violence and lost their lives, or have succumbed to fatal diseases. People standing up for the basic rights of others have lost their own right to live. Men and women who have sworn to keep the peace or to rescue others from disasters have given up time with family and friends for the sake of the vulnerable. Everywhere there are people who respond to the call of God with courage and commitment.

Our sacrifice may not be as great, but it does not diminish the power of our response. Maybe through our small everyday actions, God will touch someone else and their life will be transformed. It is not the size of the sacrifice that counts but the complete willingness to give that sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of all humanity. What we are asked to do is to translate that reality into our own somewhat simple lives.

On those days when being a good steward seems too difficult, we look to the cross and find strength in a God who knows how hard life can be at times. We also look to fellow stewards and find empa-thy and companionship. We reflect on the lives of the saints and those who gave their lives because of their love for God. We give thanks and go out to the world around us which needs the presence of Jesus – and we acknowledge how hard the day would be without him.

With every blessing.
+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 9 March 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
Last Friday night and Saturday the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council met for the first of the four meetings we will have during this year. As usual we had a full agenda including reflecting again on LAUD-ATO SI, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on Care for Our Common Home. This Letter was published on Pentecost Sunday almost two years ago. We went back to it because we wanted to make sure that the urgent message of the Holy Father is not being forgotten, that the challenge to “care for” the world’s natural re-sources is still being heard and that we are responding to his chal-lenges. Part of our discussion was about what we might be able to do as individuals, and also what influence we might have over our schools, colleges, parishes and families in the Archdiocese to ensure that we “come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us.” (LS 244)

One of the interesting aspects of our discussion at the meeting was how a number of people said they had always known that there is an ecological crisis. They knew that we have a responsibility to care for the world which has been gifted to us, that parts of the world are in particular danger due to global warming, rising sea levels, de-forestation, lack of water and sanitation…BUT…they had never related these situations to their faith. That is the beauty and wonder of this Encyclical. Pope Francis makes it very clear that God is the Creator, the world and its resources are given to us to care for, not to plunder and abuse, we have a responsibility to make sure that there are enough natural resources for the coming genera-tions. Using the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Pope reminds us: “For human beings…..to destroy the biologi-cal diversity…by causing changes in its climate…; to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins.” (LS 8) Then he says the appropriate response to this is what St John Paul II had already called for ,“a global ecological conver-sion.” (LS 5)

Laudato Si is an urgent and important letter. Maybe this Penitential Season of Lent is the time for all of us (it is for me anyway) an op-portunity to examine how I use resources, how I care for “our Com-mon Home” and what I am doing about it practically.
How can you use this Lent to be more aware of the fragility of our planet and what you are doing to care for it?

Ngā mihi nui

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 23 February 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
Lent is a time to pay closer attention to the Word of God. The Second Vatican Council over 50 years ago reminded us of this in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium 109): the focus of Lent is to be a “a period of closer attention to the Word of God and more ardent prayer.”

I have no doubt that we all want to listen attentively to the Word of God and allow it to shape our lives, and that we want to be more ardent in prayer. As we approach Lent many will still be thinking of what they can “give up” for Lent. Some will be thinking of what else they can do in terms of giving to the poor, helping someone who is disadvantaged materially or because they are unemployed for one reason or another, some will be thinking of giving to our Bishops’ Lenten Appeal. They are all wonderful things to do, but unless those actions are inspired by the Word of God they may just be things to do. There are many ways to observe Lent; however the question I think we all need to ask is “what is the best thing to help me grow closer to God?” Lent is a time when we are challenged to be more prayerful and reflective, hopefully more caring, considerate and loving. I am sure that will only happen when we hear the invitation to “pay closer attention to the Word of God.”

In this fast moving world we need time to stop and reflect. I know I certainly do. The Word of God helps us in our prayer and reflection, and then in the way we live our lives. It is challenging, it is demanding, but it is also inspirational and consoling. Maybe at times we find the Word of God too rich or too lavish for our tastes. Perhaps we do not allow ourselves the time to chew on and absorb the Scriptures. It may also be that we do not wait sufficiently on the Lord, or listen for the Lord to speak. So that his Word might flow through our minds with new insights and through our hearts with love, a strong love which in turn enables us to reach out to others.

Each day during Lent the Lord invites us through the Prophet Isaiah:
“Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
Though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat
and, at no cost, wine and milk” (Isaiah 55:1)

Will we accept the Lord’s invitation this Lent?
+ John