Category Archives: Cathedral News

Cathedral & Pastoral Area Bulletins & Other Related News.

The Cathedral Connection 4 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Parishioners

The sadness and disappointment many of you expressed at the news that our Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, was leaving us next month, match my own reaction. Although she has been with us less than a year, without the opportunity to cover every parish situation, she has had a most positive influence and our partnership in ministry showed great promise. Fiona will continue to assist until mid-February when the Parish will bid her farewell.

We are fortunate, however, that Cardinal John is providing us with another Lay Pastoral Leader. Debbie Matheson will join us in March. Most recently she has been Consultant in the Parish Leadership Ministries for the Archdiocese and comes from Plimmerton Parish. Some will already know Debbie through contact with the Catholic Centre and in Stewardship workshops. She will be a welcome addition to our pastoral team and, like Fiona, will bring her love of people and commitment to the Gospel to her service among us. Cardinal John will Commission Debbie at the 5.30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 7 April.

We must not underestimate the privilege that is ours to have this assistance. Lay Pastoral Leaders have received spiritual and academic formation over several years to equip them for leadership roles in parishes. They are commissioned to administer a parish in the absence of a priest, and to serve as partners with priests in every aspect of pastoral care. Every parish contributes to their financial support, even though they serve in only a few parishes.

As I have some health issues to deal with this year and am approaching the retirement phase of my priesthood, Debbie’s appointment is a wonderful blessing. I know you will welcome her as you did Fiona, and as I certainly do.

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection Christmas 2017 & January 2018

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The piece that brings us peace

In the waiting area at Wellington’s cancer clinic is a large jigsaw puzzle. Pieces are put in place throughout the day as people either await appointments or those they’ve accompanied to the clinic. Sharing responsibility for the puzzle is more than a way of passing the time: the activity quietly links those who share the uncertainty and anxiety that illness brings.

Piecing together any puzzle on your own can be frustrating and is often impossible.  We need help for most things and especially when it comes to meaning. What’s life all about?  Where is my own life going – and why?

For Christians, Christmas offers the last piece of the puzzle. The gift of God in Jesus is an exact fit, presenting us with the whole picture. I have come that you may have life in its fullness, Jesus tells us. Holding that to be true, is key to an understanding of life, providing a context for the uncertainties and anxieties that are bound to confront us.

God loved the world so much that help could be delayed no longer. The coming of Jesus, clothed with humanity and born as we are born, reveals a God opening a path to perfection, made easy with the balm of mercy and the tenderness of a parent’s love. His message that we should love one another as he has loved us gives us a reason to bond together in mutual trust and service. It is in this “revelation” that we find all the meaning we will ever need.

Greetings and blessings to all who come to celebrate the Christmas festival. In this mystery of “God-with-us” you will find the piece that fits exactly the space in your heart or the gap in your life. It is the gift of Jesus, his peace, that we instinctively long for and which he promises will last for ever.

Fr James Lyons            Fiona Rammell
Parish Priest                 Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 17 December 2017

The full Parish newsletter can be viewed here.
The Parish School end of year newsletter can be viewed here.


The 10.30am Mass today is a “Family Mass”. On this occasion, the younger children among us take leading roles in the celebration and, with just a week before Christmas, offer an interpretation of the Bethlehem story. This may mean some disruption, as the youngsters may not get everything in the right order, or may not be clearly heard by everyone. Perhaps their excitement will disturb the silence many are used to; others may find this Mass more informal than usual.

Yes, things may be a little different, but this is one occasion we should all “rejoice and be glad” to be part of. The fact that our children want to be with us older folk, and want to participate by sharing their understanding of the coming of Jesus, speaks well of their families and their schooling, and tells us the story of God’s love revealed in Jesus is very much alive for the next generation.

The scene might accurately portray the “chaos” not only of the first Christmas, when there was overcrowding and general mayhem, but the situation when any family gets together. Noisy arrivals, constant chatter, kitchen mess, bedding everywhere, excitement and nonsense! There might be exhaustion at the end but no one really minds. It was so lovely just being together!

This is my prayer for our parish family as we near Christmas and on into 2018:

May we each know the strength of togetherness and be grateful for
our differences. May we pause in our busyness to look in wonder
at the beauty about us. May we honour the poverty of the
first Christmas and know the richness of the peace it brings.
May we welcome laughter, gift joy to every moment, give thanks for
everything and journey on with hope-filled hearts.

Fr James


The Cathedral Connection 10 December 2017

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The weather lately has been amazing. It is only the start of summer and already there is talk of a drought. This shows how important water is. We drink it, we shower in it, we swim in it, we are even made up of it.

So it comes as no surprise that something so central to our survival is used by John to baptise his followers. To understand this Gospel a little more let’s just turn our attention to John. The family John came from was an upstanding family in the Temple who would no doubt have expected their son to follow in their footsteps as an elder in the Church. However, John chooses to not take part in the religious hype and ceremony that was waiting for him. He chose differently. After many years living as a hermit he came back to his people with a message of repentance. He caught their attention and his call to change their lives. This is quite a Gospel story in that in order for John to get to this point he has stepped beyond the bounds of his religious tradition to show people that God’s love is as available to the people as the water is available in the river.

Why may you ask did he do this? Perhaps the law was becoming more of an obstacle course preventing people from experiencing the love of God that was already theirs.

When we experience the mercy and presence and availability of God then we will do good things. It just follows like night follows day. We need to have an earthquake in the heart and our minds to wake us to the fact that we do not do anything to earn God’s love. It is simply given.

For most of us we have experienced a Baptism of water. But how many of us have experienced a baptism of an inner knowledge of infinite love? Once we have, then everything else falls in to place.

Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 3 December 2017

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As the season of Advent opens, announcing a new year on the Christian calendar, I have two announcements that impact on our Cathedral Parish.

The first is that Fiona Rammell, our Lay Pastoral Leader since June, will not be renewing her contract at the end of January.  Fiona’s family circumstances have guided her decision, one that I heard and accepted with considerable sadness.  In just a few months Fiona has endeared herself to many, and has shown her ability in leadership roles involving liturgy, pastoral action and education.  She was part of the parish representation at the Archdiocesan Synod and has greatly supported my own pastoral responsibilities.

The second concerns my own “future planning”.  Before learning of Fiona’s situation, I asked Cardinal John if I could be relieved of responsibility as Parish Priest.  I have noticed my energy levels slipping and have learned that next year I will need another hip replacement.  My eyesight continues to deteriorate and I now avoid night driving.  Not a recipe for effective pastoral leadership.

The outcome is that I will stay on in “Sacramental Ministry”, relinquishing my role in day-to-day pastoral planning and activity.  Another priest, though not in residence, will be appointed as Administrator of the Cathedral, and it is expected another Lay Pastoral Leader will replace Fiona.

However, appointing and introducing a new LPL cannot be a simple process and I expect an inevitable delay for my “movement”.  This will become clearer in the weeks ahead, but it is important to share this information now to avoid rumour and speculation.  Please remember Fiona and myself in your prayers as we each make personal adjustments in our unique vocations.  And pray also that others will respond to the need to ensure strong, faithful leadership within our faith communities.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.