Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

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

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 4 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

This newsletter comes to you from Christchurch where I am attending the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference for the week.

This coming Sunday is an important one for the Archdiocese because it is one of the major steps in preparing for our Synod in September. It is also important for the Church throughout the world as it is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, with the theme “Led by the Spirit for Mission.” Our Synod theme fits in perfectly with that chosen by Pope Francis for this Good Shepherd Sun-day, the day on which we pray for vocations.

I have asked that a Pastoral Letter be read out at all Masses in the Archdiocese this Sunday. This pastoral letter informs people of what the Synod is all about and encourages people to participate. Everyone can participate, through prayer and by being actively engages in the Synod process, whether or not they are actually attending the Synod.

In his message the Holy Father wrote: “In the last few years, we have considered two aspects of the Christian vocation: the sum-mons to “go out from ourselves” to hear the Lord’s voice, and the importance of the ecclesial community as the privileged place where God’s call is born, nourished and expressed.”

Please think very seriously about these words, We are all asked by our Baptism “to go out from ourselves,” to be “sent out,” and we hear God’s word in our communities of faith, our families, schools, colleges and parishes. The Pope’s message focuses on “the missionary dimension of our Christian calling.” It is that very focus that we want the synod to reflect on and prepare us for our missionary work “to follow Jesus and discover within ourselves an irrepressible desire to bring the Good News to our brothers and sisters through proclamation and the service of charity.”

This coming Sunday, please highlight prayer for vocations, and please link the Pastoral Letter about the Synod to the Holy Father’s theme. This is a great opportunity for us all to reflect on what we are called to, and on the fact that we are all “sent,” but in various ways. This is the one Sunday of the year when we think particularly and pray about the call to priesthood and religious life and the absolute necessity for those vocations to grow if the Church is to flourish and bear fruit. We are all “Led by the Spirit for Mission,” we are all “sent out” to the world around us.

Please know that in all we do to respond to our missionary call, whatever that may be, we are at all times accompanied by Jesus the Good Shepherd. He is always with us and His mercy and goodness follow us all the days of our lives.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

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