Category Archives: Synod ’17 News

The Cathedral Connection 7 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.
The Synod Participation Process insert can be viewed here.


Yesterday’s ordination to priesthood of Cirilo Barliss was a rare privilege for our archdiocese. Considering priesthood as a way of life has not been a popular option for several decades, particularly in more affluent countries such as our own. So the celebration for Cirilo was particularly important. The Parish congratulates him and wishes him every blessing as he formally begins his pastoral journey.

Let’s take a moment to ask why there has been such a fall-off in “Vocations” to priesthood and religious life? The question invites much speculation. Is it because the Catholic priesthood is a male-only priesthood? Is it the rule of celibacy and/or the fact that our priesthood expects a life-long commitment? Is it that there are now fewer children per family? Is the Holy Spirit trying to guide us to a new form of ministry?

There will be many more questions, and answers will not be easily or quickly found.  Personally, I endorse the significance of on-going prayer to see more clearly the way ahead and for each of us to be open to whatever service God might call us to offer.

The Stewardship principle we explored last week with Cardinal John is very timely for parish life. As we each take ownership of the gift of faith and give the best of ourselves to the body of Christ, some will recognise the joy in sacramental ministry and gift themselves to claim it. Use the quote from the Letter of Peter as your “Vocation Prayer” and follow the call, wherever it leads.

Each one of you has received a special grace,

so, like good stewards responsible for all

these varied graces of God, put it at

the service of others. [1Peter 4:10] 

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.
The Synod Participation Process insert can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 4 May 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

This newsletter comes to you from Christchurch where I am attending the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference for the week.

This coming Sunday is an important one for the Archdiocese because it is one of the major steps in preparing for our Synod in September. It is also important for the Church throughout the world as it is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, with the theme “Led by the Spirit for Mission.” Our Synod theme fits in perfectly with that chosen by Pope Francis for this Good Shepherd Sun-day, the day on which we pray for vocations.

I have asked that a Pastoral Letter be read out at all Masses in the Archdiocese this Sunday. This pastoral letter informs people of what the Synod is all about and encourages people to participate. Everyone can participate, through prayer and by being actively engages in the Synod process, whether or not they are actually attending the Synod.

In his message the Holy Father wrote: “In the last few years, we have considered two aspects of the Christian vocation: the sum-mons to “go out from ourselves” to hear the Lord’s voice, and the importance of the ecclesial community as the privileged place where God’s call is born, nourished and expressed.”

Please think very seriously about these words, We are all asked by our Baptism “to go out from ourselves,” to be “sent out,” and we hear God’s word in our communities of faith, our families, schools, colleges and parishes. The Pope’s message focuses on “the missionary dimension of our Christian calling.” It is that very focus that we want the synod to reflect on and prepare us for our missionary work “to follow Jesus and discover within ourselves an irrepressible desire to bring the Good News to our brothers and sisters through proclamation and the service of charity.”

This coming Sunday, please highlight prayer for vocations, and please link the Pastoral Letter about the Synod to the Holy Father’s theme. This is a great opportunity for us all to reflect on what we are called to, and on the fact that we are all “sent,” but in various ways. This is the one Sunday of the year when we think particularly and pray about the call to priesthood and religious life and the absolute necessity for those vocations to grow if the Church is to flourish and bear fruit. We are all “Led by the Spirit for Mission,” we are all “sent out” to the world around us.

Please know that in all we do to respond to our missionary call, whatever that may be, we are at all times accompanied by Jesus the Good Shepherd. He is always with us and His mercy and goodness follow us all the days of our lives.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Synod ’17 Update No. 2: 24 March 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
We have moved into the phase of the Synod preparation which involves identifying the 350 people who will take part in the Synod weekend.

Parishes have been sent information about the number of participants they should select to attend the Synod. Guidelines for selecting the participants were included with the numbers. The demographic and socio-economic diversity of the parish and personal qualities of the people are the main factors to be taken into account.

The personal qualities of the participants are very important. The people chosen should be:

  • prayerful and discerning
  • willing to let the Holy Spirit work through them
  • willing to dialogue and listen to others
  • able to take part in preparation for the synod

The Synod is not a place for pushing agendas, or re-litigating parish amalgamation issues. We need to understand that the Archdiocese is the local Church, and that each parish is part of the local Church not an entity unto itself.

The Synod will be a discernment process, listening to the Spirit and to one another as we seek to understand where God is leading us, which is why we need prayerful, listening participants. Imagination is also important, as it is a powerful way in which the Holy Spirit can introduce us to new ways of understanding and acting. There are many prayerful and discerning people in our parishes, and the process of choosing them is itself an exercise in prayerful discernment.

Other people will also receive letters of invitation to participate in the Synod because of their role in the Archdiocese. They too will need to understand the Synod as a discernment process, and re-flect upon how best to prepare and contribute.

With prayerful best wishes


Synod ’17 – Update 1

The full update including Synod Calendar, can be viewed here.

Dear Friends

Work is going on in earnest in preparation for the Synod in
September. The Synod Committee has been making good progress in dealing with the many decisions and actions needed. With the new year well underway and parishes making plans for the year, we are sending you the first Synod Update so that you can factor the Synod timeline into your plans.
I said in the Decree of Convocation for the Synod:
“In convoking a Synod I am mindful of Pope Francis’ desire that we advance along the path of “a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are”. He explains what he means by “pastoral and missionary conversion” when he writes: “Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent action which says ‘We have always done it this way’”. It means being bold and creative in rethinking the goals,
structures, style and methods of evangelization and service to the world in our Archdiocese with its diverse communities. In particu-lar, it means taking on board his message to “go out” to the wider world.”
The topics for the Synod are primarily drawn from the directions Pope Francis has been putting before us. The topics are:
the peripheries of society; our own peripheries; refugees and mi-grants; care for creation; ecumenism; accompanying the young; marriage and family. In addition there are two topics which reflect particular needs in the Archdiocese: leadership; bicultural and eth-nic diversity. These topics will be the subject of the diocese-wide consultation process which begins on 7 May.
Prayer and discernment will be critical factors in the Synod
process, and I have asked Fr Alan Roberts to look at how we can provide formation in discernment prior to the Synod. He will be talking about this at the Ministry Formation Day on 28 February.
As we journey together towards the Synod, we pray for one anoth-er and for the Archdiocese.
With prayerful best wishes