Category Archives: Central Pastoral Area

Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 25 June 2017

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SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION

Our three parishes combined for the celebration of Confirmation at Sacred Heart Cathedral last Sunday. Cardinal John presided as 47 children took a step closer to their full initiation into the Catholic Church. Their First Communion in November will complete the journey. Under the guidance of parents and sponsors, these children prepared for the Sacrament that brings the gift of the Holy Spirit to inspire and encourage their developing faith. Cardinal John urged them to make kindness their constant companion. “Kindness, always kindness.”

St Mary of the Angels Parish
Otari Parish

 

 

 

Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish

 

 

 

Congratulations to all the children and a very big thank you for all the hard work and preparations undertaken by Pat, Angela, Bede and their teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

TOGETHER WE ARE ONE

A special moment in the journey from conflict to reunion between Lutherans and Catholics will be witnessed next Sunday afternoon (4 June) in Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Lutheran Bishop, Mark Whitfield, and Cardinal John Dew will lead the two communities in a service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Year of Reformation.  Themes of thanksgiving, repentance, common witness and commitment will draw on traditions we hold in common.

A highlight will be the introduction of a formal dialogue between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in New Zealand.

It is wonderful to note that the journey towards each other has grown in momentum these past 50 years through what is obviously a Holy Spirit-driven ecumenical season.  We have come to appreciate that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.  With greater understanding, trust has blossomed while old prejudices have faded.

Two weeks ago I spoke at St Paul’s Lutheran Church about the relationship between Luther and Rome.  In my preparation I was surprised to discover Luther’s “Theology of Joy” which he expressed in his pastoral letters and preaching.  It sits easily with Pope Francis’ emphasis on joy, as he encourages everyone to open themselves to the “Joy of the Gospel” and the “Joy of Love”.

Our times are witnessing a definite climate shift from intolerance to an atmosphere of friendly contact and participation in everything we can share together.  The unity for which Jesus Christ prayed is surely within our grasp.

Next Sunday’s service at the cathedral is at 3.00pm.  Please come and support this timely initiative.  Be part of an historic moment in New Zealand inter-church relationships.

Fr James

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 30 April 2017

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Meeting Jesus on the Way to Emmaus

Today’s Gospel (Luke 24/ 13-35) gives us insights as to how we can meet the Lord in our everyday lives, and how we can best lead others to him.

Sharing the Gospel is essentially about relationship. Jesus joins the 2 followers, acts dumb, listens, and then gradually contributes, until ‘their hearts burn within them.’  What a wonderful way to evangelize!  The men contribute also. They show hospitality and invite Jesus to stay with them.  Only then is their sight restored as they recognise Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus shares food with the disciples to signify that the Kingdom has come, because       previously he has said, “I shall not eat again until there is fulfilment in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 22:16,18).

The disciples had all the “facts”: They saw Jesus’ wonderful words and deeds, and they were told about the empty tomb. Yet they give up, leave Jerusalem, and cannot even    recognise Jesus. Why? Because they hold on to their own and erroneous hope, namely that Jesus would “set Israel free” politically.  Jesus was able to teach them pretty quickly because they already know the Jewish Scripture.

The main point for us in this beautiful story is that Discipleship is a story of journey, including coming and leaving (Jerusalem), walking along, staying together, and returning.  Our Discipleship journey will have the same characteristics – meeting, recognising, sharing, and listening.

Some things we might like to think about in our own lives:

Do I show hospitality to Jesus so that he will stay with me and open my eyes?

Do I have false hopes that blind me from seeing Jesus?

In what direction am I walking on the journey

toward discipleship?

God Bless,

 Fr Ron

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Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 26 March 2017

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The Man Born Blind

The Season of Lent really has two motifs running through it. It a time of preparation for
Holy Week, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. But it was (and still is) the time when the catechumens (those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) received their final instructions. They did not stay for the Eucharist. Instead, after the scripture readings, they left the Church and were instructed in their meaning.

So the readings during Lent were chosen with great care. They always included three scriptures from John’s gospel – the Samaritan Woman, the Man Born Blind, and the Raising of Lazarus. At first sight, these scriptures do not sound especially appropriate for Lent, but they had deep meanings and were used repeatedly to point out what was happening in the lives of the catechumens and the people generally. They are always used in Year A (this year), and can be substituted for the Year B and Year C scriptures, especially when there are catechumens present.

So today, the Man Born Blind. The blind man “sees” more and more clearly as his interrogation goes on. After the healing but before the interrogation he had “no idea,” but after a long dispute, he says that Jesus is “a prophet.” After more challenge, he proclaims further that Jesus is “from God.” Finally, after the man’s acknowledgment of ignorance (or blindness) and Jesus’ personal teaching, he confesses, “I do believe, Lord.”

On the opposite side are the sighted, not only physically but also figuratively because they are knowledgeable concerning the teaching of Moses and the Church. At first, they see the miracle, but question the authority. Then they question whether the man was blind at all. They concluded finally that the man is a sinner and excommunicated him (and Jesus along with him). Their blindness is thus complete. This light / darkness theme is so much part of John’s gospel. The catechumens and ourselves, are left with a stark choice. Are we progressing into the light, or are we still in darkness?
Some points for reflection may be:

  • Do I realise my blindness and ask for sight? Does the Lord heal me? Talk to Jesus in prayer about this.
  • Do I, at other times, become so proud of my knowledge and self-sufficiency that I become blinded? How do I do that? How can I change? Talk to Jesus about this.
  • What work or phrase particularly appealed to me. Why?

Fr Ron

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The Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 26 February 2017

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REMEMBER, YOU ARE DUST….

Lent opens this week with the opportunity of being anointed with ash. Submitting to the action that spells out our mortality, we acknowledge our nothingness before God, but also our great hope, gifted by faith, that the love by which we were created will bring us victory over death, in all its forms.

Lent sends us into 40 days of deepening self-awareness, of realising how greatly we are individually loved by the God revealed in Jesus, and leading us to the point where thanksgiving can be our only response. To help the process, Caritas provides a great reflection programme, “Your face, Lord, do I seek”, encouraging discussion on topics that will expand understanding on where God is to be found. Thanksgiving shows itself in the support we offer the Caritas appeal to ensure the quality of life everywhere.

For next Friday (3 March), Pope Francis has called for prayer for the victims of abuse and violence. Too many innocent lives have been destroyed, too many trusted people have misused their position, and too many years have allowed abuse and violence to become commonplace. This day of prayer puts a focus on the responsibility of individuals and nations to stand with the weak and vulnerable. It’s an ideal way to begin Lent.

To see the face of God in the face of every person is a first step in overcoming abuse and violence. Identifying with one another as brother and sister, each a member of God’s family, brings a sense of solidarity and dignity. The ash marked as a cross on the forehead, reminds us that while there is still a way to travel on the path to perfection, the cross of Jesus has paved the way and love is carrying us along.

As a community we abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday – a collective offering that says we are all in this together. Be blessed this Lent.

Fr James Lyons

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