Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s News 14 September 2017

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Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Dear Friends

Tomorrow the sixth Synod of the Archdiocese of Wellington will begin. Previous Synods were held in 1876, 1888, 1988, 1998, and 2006. Actually the Synod has already begun; it began when I convoked the Synod on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception last December. Much preparatory work has gone on over the intervening months; I thank you all sincerely for that, and especially the Synod Steering Committee. However an enormous part of the work has been done by you, laity, religious and clergy of the Archdiocese. In May there were two major gatherings, one in the South Island part of the diocese and one in the North Island. Then in May, June and July several hundred people participated in the consultation phase of the synod. This meant people gathering together, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, listening to others, and praying and discerning before responses were sent in an analysed in preparation for this week-end. The process of discernment has been appreciated by many people and I have been told by them that they have begun to use this prayerful discernment process in various meetings and gatherings. The same process will be used over this Synod weekend.
Almost two years ago Pope Francis said “it is precisely this path of Synodality which God expects of this Church of the third millennium.” Please pray that all participants at the Synod this weekend will enter the weekend with the intention of “journeying together.”
At the second session of the Synod on the Family (October 2015), which I was privileged to be at, the Holy Father said “The world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve, even with its contradictions, demands that the Church strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission.” I therefore ask for your prayers again. As you know this Synod is about being “Sent Out” on mission, reminding all the baptised that we have a task to do, the task is to take Christ and His Gospel into the world around us. What I therefore ask of all the readers of this newsletter is that you pray that we find a way to ensure “that the Church strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission.” The formal part of the Synod begins tomorrow, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. We entrust the work of the Synod therefore to Mary who was given to us as
“As a Church which journeys together with men and wom-en, sharing the travails of history, let us cherish the dream that a rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and of the function of authority as service will also be able to help civil society to be built up in justice and fraternity, and thus bring about a more beautiful and humane world for coming generations. ” Pope Francis
our Mother as Jesus was dying on the cross and said to John and to us “This is your mother.” (John 19:26)

With thanks to you all for the support and prayers for this important event in the life of the Archdiocese. Every blessing.

+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 24 August 2017

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Dear Friends,
For several months we have been praying at all our Sunday Masses the Prayer for the Synod “Go, You Are Sent.” I am very grateful for the way the prayer has been prayed all over the Archdiocese.

The Synod is almost upon us and the need for prayer continues as we prepare to go into the weekend of prayer, reflection, discernment and sharing. It is an important weekend in the life of the Church of Wellington. There are two things I am now asking all parishes to do.
Firstly: I encourage every parish to have a simple ceremony to commission all the Synod delegates who live in your parish (not just those selected by the parish) as they prepare to come and take part in the Synod weekend’s activities. A Commissioning at Masses will highlight the work of the Synod, remind those not coming to continue their prayers and will accompany the delegates with prayer.
Secondly: Please ensure that people in parishes pray in a special way over those days, from Friday 15 until Sunday 17 September. I ask that the intentions of the Synod be included in Prayers of the Faithful that weekend, and it may also be that some of the churches could be open for special times of prayer. Thank you.

On Saturday 16th September the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral will be open for prayer from 10.30am until 5pm. Please encourage those who are able to come to pray for the work of the Synod. The Cathedral will be in use by the Synod delegates until 10.30am, and then people will go to other venues to reflect on the various topics, at which time the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed and the chapel will be open for prayer. We are not able to do the same on Sunday 17 September, because the Cathe-dral will be used for the work of the Synod until 10am, then there will be the 10.30am Mass, and it will be used again for the first part of the afternoon.

Please remember that the Synod has been an invita-tion to all people of the Archdiocese to engage in a process of prayer, dialogue and discernment. This was all part of the consultation and many thousands of people participated. Thank you. Now we move into the next phase where all the material that was sent in will continue to be re-flected on and ways forward discerned for the fu-ture. The focus is clearly on the fact that we are a Church with a mission, just as God is a God for us, so is the Church for others. The Church is con-tinually called to become more fully the Church, a people sent by the One who was sent by God to be a light to the nations, a beacon of hope and joy to all people, in our own time and place.

Thank you for your prayerful support.
With every blessing
+ John

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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

The full newsletter can be viewed here.