Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 8 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Dear Friends

This time next week we will be in Lent and Pope Francis has told us in his 2018 Lenten Message: “Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.” He went on to say, “I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth.” They are wonderful invitation to all of us, and for all those we minister to in our parishes, teach in our schools and colleges, and those we interact with in daily life. It’s an important and essential question to ask ourselves in prayer throughout this time of Lent – ‘What do I need to do to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly in every aspect of my life?’ and ‘What do I need to do to experience this time of grace anew?’

It is also important to ask ourselves how we help others to do this. We probably all struggle ourselves to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and could do with an encouraging word or smile, a promise of prayerful support, or even an invitation to pray with someone else. Lent is an invitation to “think differently,” to think differently about how we pray, about how we either do or don’t do everything as a disciple of Jesus. Therefore, another helpful question is ‘In what ways can I think differently about my life to be renewed and live whole-heartedly for God?’

Two days after Lent begins, Friday 16th February, is also the day for all Catholics throughout New Zealand to observe the Day of Prayer and Penance for Victims of Abuse and Violence in New Zealand. Last year the Bishops Conference was invited with other Bishops’ Conferences around the world to join in a day of prayer for the victims of abuse and violence (this was at the suggestion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors). The New Zealand Bishops decided to hold this day at the beginning of Lent. We all know that many people are the victims of violence in our society, especially many young people. Sadly, we know too that young and vulnerable people have been victims of abuse at the hands of some Clergy. It is appropriate that we have a day to pray for ALL victims of violence and abuse and to acknowledge again the terrible impact of abuse by members of the Church, and all other violent and abusive acts in New Zealand. Please pray for them on Friday 16th February.

Suggestions for Prayer of the Faithful 16 February 2018

• That the cries of those who have been abused in body, mind and spirit, suffered in violent relationships and betrayed by the trust they placed in others, may call forth from us a passion for justice and reparation. Let us pray to the Lord:
• That those who live and work with our abused and violated brothers, sisters and children may bind tangible ways to affect renewed dignity, healing and forgiveness. Let us pray to the Lord.

With every blessing for a prayerful and Spirit filled Lent.

+John

As the End of Life Bill starts the process of being debated in Parliament Please all invoke the intercession of Suzanne Aubert

Dear Friends,
At our Archdiocesan Synod last year one of the proposals was “The Archbishop with the Council of Priests supports the ministry of preaching in a planned and resourced way.” We will be working on that throughout the year ahead. Yesterday (7th February), at the General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Mass. He spoke of the Readings and the Homily. I have therefore extracted the part about the homily as he makes some very important points that are well worth all of us reflecting on.
With blessings

+John

“I have already addressed the argument of the homily in the Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, where I re-called that the liturgical context “calls for the preaching to orient the assembly, and also the preacher, to a communion with Christ in the Eucharist, which transforms life.”

One who gives the homily must fulfil well his ministry – he who preaches, the priest, or the deacon or the Bishop, offers a real service to all those taking part in the Mass, but those who hear him must also do their part. First of all, by paying due attention, namely, by assuming the right interior dispositions, with-out subjective demands, knowing that every preacher has merits and limitations. If sometimes there is rea-son to be bored by a long, or unfocused, or incomprehensible homily, at others times, in stead, it’s preju-dice that is the obstacle. And one who gives a homily must be conscious that he’s not doing something of his own; he is preaching, giving voice to Jesus, he is preaching the Word of Jesus. And the homily must be well prepared; it must be brief, brief! A priest said to me that once he went to another city where his par-ents lived and his father said to him: “You know, I’m happy, because along with my friends we found a church where there is Mass without a homily!” And how often we see that during the homily some fall asleep, others chat or go outside to smoke a cigarette . . . Therefore, please, make the homily brief, but it must be well prepared. And how is a homily prepared, dear priests, deacons and Bishops? How is it pre-pared? With prayer, with the study of the Word of God and by doing a clear and brief synthesis; it must not go beyond ten minutes, please.”

 

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 25 January 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends

Happy New Year and all good wishes and blessings for 2018.

Over the last few days I have been really delighted and heartened to hear of a whole range of initiatives that parishes and Archdiocesan organizations are taking or planning for this year. I have been particularly delighted to hear about how last year’s Synod proposals are being reflected on, prayed with and discussed so that they can be built into goals and plans for the year ahead.

In the latter part of last year a few people said to me that they hoped that the Synod would be effective and that the final document of the Synod would not just lie on a shelf and be forgotten. The Synod will be effective if we ALL continue the kind of discernment process we used, and look to see what we can do to make those 96 proposals reality. The Synod reflected on being sent to find new leaders, about adventurous people with initiative who can lead the parish in identifying and responding to community needs, and how to encourage them to come forward. That is starting to happen and I am very grateful. An example of this is happening this weekend in Star of the Sea Parish, Marlborough, where there is to be a gathering of people from all over the parish in the Kaikoura end of the parish. Since the 2016 November earth-quake Kaikoura has been isolated. Now that the road is open (most of the time) people will gather in Kaikoura for Mass, a BBQ and have time to reflect together on how they will respond to the Synod proposals.

As well as what is happening in parishes, the Archdiocesan General Manager and the Directors of Finance, Youth and Family, Parish Leadership, Education, Catholic Social Services, Tūranga Māori have all reflected on the Synod and are building into their plans for the year ways they can focus on achieving some of the hopes and expectations of the Synod.

I love the quote from the writer Thomas Moore which says: “It’s my conviction that slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change… deep changes in life follow movements in |imagination.” We have a volume of rich material in our Synod document, the fruit of many hours of prayer and discernment and the collective wisdom of many people. It is going to be wonderful this year to see how parishes, organizations, and schools can use this material, not necessarily by making major changes, but by “slight shifts in the imagination” which will bring new life and energy to the mission we are privileged to share together.

Just a few days ago I discovered some words of Brother David Steindl-Rast: “Live as if nothing is promised to you.” If we live this year as if nothing is promised to us, the world does not owe us a living, recognizing that all is gift and God is the Giver behind the Gift, then this will be a wonderful year.

I wish everyone a year of blessings, a year of making “slight shifts in our imaginations,” a year recognizing that all is Gift.

With abundant blessings
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 7 December 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
There are only two words for me to use in this last newsletter of 2017.
They are, Thank you! However it will take me more than two words to say
a sincere thanks to so many of you.

Throughout the year we have been working on topics to firmly establish
Stewardship in the Archdiocese. This has involved a number of very well
attended Stewardship Days and wonderful participation by many.  On these
days I have reminded all participants of these words:

Gratitude – we receive the gift of God (and everything is God’s gift)
with gratitude.
Responsibility – we cultivate the gifts of God with responsibility.
Generosity we share these gifts with others and share them generously.
Return— we return the gifts with increase to God.

We have had our Archdiocesan Synod with the theme of “Go, you are
sent”.  The opportunity to participate in the Synod process in the months
preceding the Synod weekend was taken up by hundreds, if not thousands
of people. The prayerful engagement in the Synod process led to a weekend
of listening and dialogue, which in turn led to 96 proposals being presented
to me. This has already given a new sense of purpose – Mission
to the diocese and the desire to go to the peripheries, to accompany and
support those who are struggling in life.

Pope Francis prayer for our Synod was that “the Synod will encourage all
the faithful to face the opportunities and challenges of the present moment
through a renewed encounter with Christ and the saving message of the
Gospel.” I believe his prayer for us continues as we prepare for the Christmas
season “when the kindness and love of God our Saviours for humankind
were revealed …..” (Titus 3 4-7).

This has been a very busy year, a very full year, and it is all because of
“the kindness and love of God” gifted to us in the birth of Jesus.
This Christmas my prayer for all who read this newsletter is that,

• we all receive Jesus, the Gift of God, with gratitude in our lives;
• we look for ways to use with responsibility the gift of Jesus in our
lives;
• we share Jesus generously with others, share his love, share his words,
share his presence;
• we realise that all is gift, and in return all gifts to God in love.

I pray too that as we prepare for Christmas we will all live it in such a way
that it is a renewed encounter with Christ and with the saving message of
His Gospel.

With prayers and sincere thanks to you all for your wonderful support
throughout this year.

Every blessing and Happy Christmas

+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 23 November 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Dear Friends
On the Solemnity of Christ the King last year I was priv-ileged to be at a Mass in St Peter’s Square, the closing Mass for the Year of Mercy. At the end of the Mass Pope Francis signed his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera. In that letter, he told us that while the Year of Mercy might have finished “Now it is time to look to the future and to understand how best to continue, with joy, fidelity and enthusiasm, experiencing the richness of God’s mercy, Let us not sadden the Spirit, who con-stantly points out new paths to take in bringing to eve-ryone the Gospel of salvation.” (MM5) This is a won-derful Letter and it is worth reflecting on, praying with and then acting on. It can easily be found by going online and searching for Misericordia et Misera.

The Holy Father reminded the world that “the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open. We have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4) so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters.” (MM 16) He then went on to tell us that he had the idea that the Church might celebrate, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the World Day of the Poor. That of course was last Sunday for us. All parishes were sent a video to be played which encouraged us to create a “culture of encounter” with the poor in our society. Just as the Year of Mercy continues by our living MERCY, so last Sunday was not just one day to give a little thought to the poor and then to be forgotten about. There are homeless on our streets, there are people who struggle to make ends meet, there are families who cannot afford medical care, who cannot educate their children; there are endless opportunities for us to encounter the poor and reach out a helping hand. “We are called to promote a culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sis-ters.” (MM 20)

Last Sunday was the first World Day of the Poor and this coming Sunday it is a year since Pope Francis wrote this powerful letter and released it in the Solemnity of Christ the King. This Sunday we will hear the words in the Mass about Jesus presenting to God the Father “A kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” We help build that Kingdom by the way we care for the poor.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 9 November 2017

Dear Friends,

It is almost a year ago since the Year of Mercy ended. I was privileged to be at the Final Mass for the Year of Mercy celebrated in St Peter’s Square by Pope Francis. At the end of the Mass he officially released a document called Misericordia et Misera. In that document, he implored us to continue being merciful and wrote: “Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very exist-ence, through which the profound truths of the Gospel are made manifest and tangible. Everything is revealed in mercy; everything is resolved in the mer-ciful love of the Father.”

He asked us to do something special at some time throughout the year and to be creative with Scripture so that it could engage us in a different and vibrant way. On Sunday 29th October, all our parishes were invited to use Lectio Divina to help people to engage with the Gospel in a different way. I have received many emails and heard many comments from people who very much appreciated this opportunity. They loved and appreciated the silence, the chance to focus more deeply on the Gospel, and the fact that there was time to pay closer attention to the Word of God. Thank you for doing that, it has helped so many people to reflect more deeply on the Gospel.

Pope Francis also asked the world to observe the 33rd Sunday of the Year as the World Day of the Poor, which this year is. 19th November. I am sure that parishes, schools, colleges and families will think of many initiatives that can be taken to help one another become aware of the situations of poverty in our own towns and cities. I am sure that will also flow over into practical actions to assist those find it a struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. For the World Day of the Poor we have provided a short video with some of the messages of the Holy Father about pov-erty throughout the world. This short video has been created with the help of Caritas, the St Vincent de Paul Society and Fr James Lyons. I am most grateful to them. Parishes are invited to show this video at Masses on the World Day of the Poor (19th November) and all are asked to reflect on how we might do something to help those people who do struggle.

Please remember that Mercy cannot become a parenthesis in the life of the Church. We are called to respond in mercy every day. What special effort will you make for the first World Day of the Poor?

With every blessing

John