Category Archives: Central Pastoral Area

The Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 25 February 2018

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In common speech the word ‘hopefully’ has been downgraded so that it expresses little more than a vague wish: ‘Hopefully, it will be fine tomorrow,’ or ‘Hopefully, it won’t be too busy.’

A novelist describes what it is to live hopefully. One of her characters is a young woman named Sally who has cancer and knows that she is dying. She has two young children.  She is determined not to leave her husband and children with the memory of her dying being a drawn-out horror story as she wallows in despair. She wants her children to remember her as a fun-filled, kind and loving person. As long as she has strength, despite the illness that threatens to overwhelm her, she resolves that she will find purpose and meaning and as much enjoyment as she can in each day. Even though she knows her time on earth is limited she is full of hope that counters despair.

Charles Pinches, a professor of religious studies, says that, unlike optimism, genuine hope is formed in the darkness. This was Sally’s experience.

During Lent we keep company with Jesus as he trod the path that would lead to the cross. The happiness he pursued was not a passing fancy but the true blessedness that comes from a life of overflowing commitment to the way and will of God. Nothing would turn him aside. This is what it is to live hopefully. Living hopefully is grounded in the faithfulness of God and is always linked to action.

Living hopefully is one of the key notes of the gospel that we are called to proclaim throughout Lent, the Easter season and all that lies beyond.

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that [life] makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.  Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), first President of the Czech Republic who spent years imprisoned during the Soviet era.

Extract from editorial by John Meredith in Word and Worship [Autumn 2018]  Used with permission.

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 27/28 January 2018

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23 January 2018

Dear Parishioners,

As many of you will know, in December 2017, David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choice’ bill had its first reading in Parliament and was voted through to the Justice Select Committee. This Bill, which seeks to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide, is something that we, the Bishops of New Zealand,     remain extremely concerned about. We want to take the opportunity to further inform you about the complexities and risks associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide.

We are hesitant about “tacking on” activities to Mass, but from time to time a particular initiative is  given permission because its focus is so important that in effect it finds its full meaning within the context of the Mass. As we gather to be nourished by God’s Word (teaching and law) and by His Body and Blood, which makes possible the fullness of life, it is appropriate that something which so gravely threatens the gift of life is addressed within the context of our Sunday worship.

Today, all around New Zealand, we are making available a resource which gives 5 reasons why    legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide would be dangerous. We encourage you to share it among your friends, family and networks. This information is to inform and assist you to take personal action. Each of you can make a difference. Each of you are called to make a difference.

The fact sheet being provided at Masses today is also available online by visiting the website of The Nathaniel Centre – the New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre –

Thank you for giving this your attention and for the support and effort you have all given to date on this issue. It is a powerful witness when the entire Catholic community is united around a point of   belief and action – the upholding of the dignity of human life – which is so central to our faith and    pivotal to an inclusive and caring society.

Many of you submitted to the Health Select Committee Inquiry two years ago. There is now an urgent need to let parliament know your views about David Seymour’s Bill. Therefore, we urge each of you to get personally involved by sending a submission to Parliament’s Justice Select Committee before the closing date of 20 February 2018. Instructions on how to make a submission has been handed out with the fact sheet.

Your voice will make a difference !

Bishop Patrick Dunn, Bishop of Auckland and NZCBC President

Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North and NZCBC Secretary
Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington
Bishop Steve Lowe, Bishop of Hamilton
Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin
Bishop-Elect Paul Martin SM, Bishop-Elect of Christchurch

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 24 December 2017

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Christmas (by John Betjeman)

 No love that in a family dwells

No caroling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare-

That God was man in Palestine

And lives today in Bread and Wine


On behalf of the priests and staff in the Wellington Central Pastoral area, I wish you all a happy, holy and safe Christmas.

Fr Ron

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 26 November 2017

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Today is the feast of Christ the King. This is not about honouring a King as someone in power ruling over us, as the words Christ the King may first suggest, but about honouring Christ present in every part of the universe. The full name of this feast is aptly called: “Christ the King of the Universe.”

The Gospel reminds us of what is most essential: being there for each other, walking alongside, feeding, welcoming, clothing and visiting those in need.  In doing so we will find ourselves in the company of Jesus who identifies himself with those who find life difficult.

Coming hot off the heels of the first World Day of the Poor, today’s theme sharpens the focus.  If we do not understand this feast day in the right way, then we run the risk of being like the apostles and expecting an all-powerful leader that can make things right. Pope Benedict said the Eucharist is “intrinsically fragmented” if it does not lead to concrete, practical actions of caring.

What actions can you take this week?  Where might you be led to minister to God’s “little ones”? There is no doubt that the responsibility to care falls on each one of us.  It is not something we can leave for someone else.  In the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” This is where the real power lies: in breaking open the words into actions that will make a difference.

Today in our parishes we welcome the young children who will be receiving Communion for the first time. This is their formal encounter with Christ the King of the Universe.  With us and through us they are to be nurtured and loved into the reign of God marked by justice, love and peace.

The three parishes in our Pastoral Area can take great pride in these “little ones” and in the families that have prepared them for this day.  Today as they join us at the Table of the Eucharist for the first time they are our guides on our way to meet Christ the King of the Universe.  Thank you and congratulations.  Thank you also to those who have coordinated and encouraged the preparation programme.  Your loving care has made this day possible.



Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 29 October 2017

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I remember a computer course I did in my University days.  Before we could get the computer to do what we wanted it to do we had to write the code so it could perform the operation.  Windows interface had not yet been invented and when it was introduced what a difference that made to what we could do. Upgrading the operating system allowed us to do so much more.

Earlier in the year I was reflecting on how often Jesus took Himself off to a quiet place to just be. Was the practice His way of upgrading His operating system? What if this is what He meant by prayer – an opportunity to see things in a different light.  It’s not a matter of thinking nicer thoughts but enabling us to reach a different way of seeing things. So many of Jesus’ parables took this approach. He was asked a question and before he replied he took time to draw in the sand, or thought of an explanation that took the enquirer out of the mind and into the heart. It is prayer that gives us this third way of seeing. The transformational power that is inherent in prayer is rarely actioned. Just like the computer, an upgrade in our operating system is essential.

This weekend we have been asked to give ourselves time to ponder one Gospel passage. To let the word of God wash over and within us upgrades our thinking patterns by letting our heart (emotions) encounter our faith.

When we do this we allow God’s word to penetrate our inner being so that the transformative power of the word shines through us. Such a process takes time, dedication and a genuine desire. Let’s hope that by experiencing this way of praying in today’s Mass we may use it as a launch pad into making it a regular occurrence. Then we will find, as in today’s Gospel, that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbour as ourselves will become the norm and not the exception.


Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader
Sacred Heart Cathedral

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