Category Archives: Central Pastoral Area

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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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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The Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter – 29 January 2017

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This is our first pastoral area newsletter for 2017 and may be the last that I will present in my current role, as today is my final day as your Lay Pastoral Leader. The reflection often relates to the Sunday readings but today I’d like to share some of my journey with you.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, and the Friday before, we heard Jesus called his disciples and “they followed him.” I’d like to think that they took some time to consider the call and put their affairs in order before heading off but, however long or short the process took, the most important fact for us is that they heeded the call and followed him.

This Gospel always resonates with me as I know that I was answering a call that Sunday at Mass more than 15 years ago. Our then Parish Priest Fr Brian Austin talked about a study program called “Launch Out.” I had been feeling led to do some study for my own personal enjoyment, so the time was ripe to investigate this course. Little did I know where it would lead me! I applied to join Launch Out and was called for an interview and sat in the board room at the Catholic Centre facing Card Tom Williams, + John Dew, Lorraine McArthur (head of pastoral services) and Joan McFetridge, (in charge of Launch Out), a formidable line up! 1 ½ hours later I left exhausted and wondering whether I really was a suitable candidate. I must have presented a reasonably     positive impression as I was accepted and then began my journey to the position I have held for 8 years for the Archdiocese of Wellington. I hadn’t done any in depth study since my nursing training 40 years before and had no idea was ahead of me, probably just as well.

Along side my fulltime nursing I embarked on a Diploma in Pastoral Leadership.  This, together with prayer days, an annual retreat and pastoral project, life became very busy indeed.  It was thought that four years would suffice to complete the course but for many of us, with working as well, it took somewhat longer.

In 2008 I was appointed by +John to the Wellington South Pastoral Area (later becoming Wellington Central) with specific responsibility for St Thomas More Parish. This entailed everything the priest has responsibility for excluding Masses, anointing and Baptisms. The ministry was extremely varied and it has been an absolute privilege and a joy to be involved in people’s lives and the life of the parish.

None of the above could have been achieved without the support of my very patient husband and an incredibly  supportive parish community who I have enjoyed getting to know so much better. I thank you all for your trust and belief in me and all our interactions and relationships. I haven’t space to identify all the  people, priests and laity, who have  impacted my life so please accept my grateful thanks and blessings for your future.

I’d like to finish up with trying to answer a question that people often ask-how do you know when God is calling you or speaking to you? For me it is through other people, through scripture and just the ordinary everyday circumstances of our lives, we just must be open to hearing the call or the prompt, but above all, answering it.

May God bless you all with his infinite mercy and grace,   Mary-Anne

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The Central Pastoral Area Newsletter – 18 December 2016

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Revolutionaries and Freedom Fighters seek liberation from what they regard as oppression, injustice or corruption.  Their leaders are people whose goal is to reverse the situation, overthrow the invaders, create a new society.

At the time of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah was expected to be such a leader – someone whose charisma would rally the people, expel the Roman invaders and restore the Hebrew nation to its  former glory.  The first followers of Jesus thought they had found this Messiah and, as his popularity grew among the ordinary people, anticipated that he was the one who would “restore the kingdom to Israel” [Acts 1:6]

But Jesus made it clear that his kingdom was not of this world.  He had not come to save
us from others.  His mission was to save us from ourselves!

There is a sense in which Christmas brings the best out of people.  There is a general feeling of goodwill; we are inclined to greet strangers and be more relaxed and generous in dealing with      others.  There is something here, in the “spirit of Christmas” that has us reaching out to others, wanting to heal rifts, to make peace.

This is the season that offers a glimpse of the “new society” that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus opens for us and the whole world.  Left to ourselves we are more intent on survival than on sharing, on blaming others rather than checking our own faults, on demanding rights and avoiding responsibilities.

As Saviour, Jesus offers us freedom from an inner captivity that holds us ransom to our selfish instincts, and prevents our ripening and blossoming into a partnership with others, building a new world that enables a free and joyful response to his “new commandment” to love one another as I have loved you.

What greater Saviour could we wish for?  A blessed Christmas everyone!

Fr James Lyons

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