Tag Archives: Archdiocese

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 26 October 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
“Thanks be to God for all he has done and is doing for us.” These words were one of the most used phrases of the Venerable Suzanne Aubert. I believe that here in New Zealand we can genuinely say those words with her. We can say them in gratitude for all that she was and is for the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On Saturday 14th October we had a wonderful day with the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion as they celebrated 125 years since the Congregation was founded by Suzanne Aubert. It was a great day as we joined the Sisters in giving thanks with them and for them. The day began at 6am with a solemn and beautiful celebration led by the Mana Whenua as every-one was welcomed and processed up the pathway through newly landscaped gardens to the chapel where Suzanne has been laid to rest. There was a solemn blessing of the crypt and of the Resurrection window by Iwi leaders and me, a Powhiri followed, and then blessing of the other new buildings includ-ing the Visitor Center. The whole day was a truly bi-cultural celebration which honored Suzanne and her legacy, the Sisters of Compassion. Miha Maori (Maori Mass) concluded the celebration during which the sisters renewed their vows and we all gave thanks with them. Included in all of this was, of course, very generous hospitality which included breakfast and lunch.

The magnificent resting place of Suzanne, the Resurrection window, (and the other windows in the crypt area), the Visitor Center, the gardens outside are all worth visiting. The Home of Compassion at Island Bay has always been a holy place, a place where all have been welcomed warmly and with gracious generosity. Go and visit. Go and pray at the tomb of Mother Meri Hohepa. Go to the Visitor Center and learn more about this incredible woman whom we are waiting to be de-clared New Zealand’s first canonized Saint. We are still able to learn so much from her. Go and visit and learn with her how to say “Thanks be to God for all he has done and is do-ing for us.”

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 28 September 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago when I wrote this Newsletter it was the day before our Synod “Go, you are Sent” began. It was a wonderful weekend, thank you all for your prayers, which most certainly helped the Synod to run smoothly and which enabled people to participate fully in the listening and discernment process. If there was one message I heard from people over the weekend it was about how much they appreciated the prayerful discern-ment process and the wish that such processes could be used in parish life. There is absolutely no reason why that cannot happen, and indeed I hope that it will.

A huge amount of work went into the Synod:

  • the planning of the Synod Committee,
  • the training of facilitators and scribes,
  • the two pre-synod days in May,
  • the engagement in the consultation phase and the extensive feedback,
  • the actual participation over the weekend,
  • the liturgies and prayer over the weekend
  • the analysis of recommendations as they came in

THANK YOU ALL

In a way the work now begins. I have received a total of 96 recommendations. They are all important for the life of the Archdiocese and I will be planning, with others, as to how these recommendations can become reality. Some things are clear:

  • we all need to be involved and we all need to do some things differently,
  • theological, spiritual and liturgical formation has been identified as a major requirement,
  • it is essential that we search out, identify and go to the peripheries,
  • we are to embrace bicultural relationships as an integral part of all that we do

There are many more challenges before us. I will need the generosity and creativity of all of you to help give life and energy to the Archdiocese, its parishes, schools, colleges, organisations, families and to every individual.

Pope Francis sent us a wonderful message for the Syn-od. His challenge to us was to be “authentic missionary disciples.”

That is a challenge to us all, we can do it but we are never disciples alone.
We are always disciples together and we are always gifted with the Spirit of God.
Thank you again for the wonderful support for the Synod.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 27 July 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
I can still remember the day when as a seminarian I discovered these words in the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians; “Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be inno-cent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.” (Phil 2:14-15) Those words had a powerful impact on me back in 1971. I have been conscious of them ever since and have always tried not to complain or argue, but have not always succeeded!

I was reminded of those words of St Paul when I read an article on Rome Reports a few days ago about the poster which Pope Francis had posted on his door in Casa Santa Marta.

The Rome Report read: ‘Pope hangs a sign on the door of his room: “No Whining”’ It then went on to say that the Pope put the poster on his door either because it’s the summer and the Pope is in a good mood, or because he is tired of hearing people turn complaining into a sport. Under the Italian heading VIETATO LAMENTARSI the words read:
“Offenders are subjected to syndrome of victimism that lowers the mood and the ability to solve problems.”

It says that “sanction is doubled if the offense is committed in the presence of children” and concludes with a hopeful message: “To become the best version of yourself, you must focus on your own potential and not on your own limits, so stop complaining and act to change your life for the better.”

Evidently Pope Francis was given the poster a month or so ago after one of his General Audiences in St Peter’s Square by the psychologist Salvo Noè. I believe that this is a message that summarizes Pope Francis’ thoughts, and highlights the way he runs his pontificate.
When I read this particular Rome Report I knew that this was a good lesson for me, and maybe it is a good lesson for all of us.

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

HOMILY – ORDINATION ANNIVERSARY, 2 JULY 2017 – 13th Sunday [A]

HOMILY – ORDINATION ANNIVERSARY, 2 JULY 2017 – 13th Sunday [A]

As the seminary opened its gates to release a batch of students ready for ordination mid-1967, the Beatles were well on the way to converting the world to their unique brand of music.  I began my ministry to the beat of their hit single, All You Need Is Love.  It seemed a great anthem for a new priest in the immediate post-Vatican II environment.

In the exciting glow of that amazing Council, signalling long-awaited reforms within our Church, I was convinced that all I needed was love and everything else would take care of itself.  The Second Vatican Council opened doors and windows to the world, asking Catholics to engage confidently with other Christians and with issues that concerned people generally.  There were to be changes in the way we celebrated Mass; the priest would face the people for the entire liturgy, and English was to replace Latin so that everyone could understand and participate.

I found these changes exhilarating and did not appreciate till much later the anxiety and troubled conscience they meant for many of the older priests and parishioners.  Another song came to haunt my priesthood.  One of the early rock-operas explored the personality of Jesus:  Jesus Christ Superstar!  The song of Mary Magdalen, I Don’t Know How To Love Him, pushed me back to reality.  It was easy to love Jesus in the security and protection of the seminary, but in the cut and thrust of parish life, beyond the hype of change and novelty, meeting the pain that people carry in broken relationships, terminal illness, anxiety and grief, did I really know how to love him?

A personal wakeup came in a Retreat in the early 80s, and it centred on today’s second reading [Rom 6:3-4].  When I was baptised in Christ Jesus, I was baptised in his death!  How could I not encounter suffering, or have doubts, or become disillusioned?  Jesus endured all this, and more.  Unless I entered his death how could I expect to enter his resurrection?  Soon after the Retreat a third song made its mark on me: one of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s: Love Changes Everything.  There have been other songs since, but this is the one that helped cement my priesthood in the lives of the people I served.

When God told Adam, It is not good for man to be alone, he wasn’t just referring to the partnership of marriage.  God was pointing out the inescapable fact that no one can exist alone.  We are made for community; we need others in our life.  A priest cannot be a priest just for himself; his priesthood only grows and matures and makes sense in relationship with those to whom he is sent.  It is the love he meets in this relationship that changes everything.

It took me a long while to understand that this love does not exclude affection for family and friends but enriches them.  The cross of Jesus is only a burden to those who limit their love to themselves.  By “losing” or “sinking” your life into the life of Jesus, you discover yourself constantly renewed and refreshed.  As the prophet Elisha [1st Reading] gifted the couple who befriended him with new life, all your giving, and all my giving, far from depleting our resources, will open new avenues, new wonders.

The Beatles told me All You Need Is Love!  But it took a while for me to see that truth.  I first had to learn what love really meant.  I stumbled a few times trying to follow the footsteps of Jesus, and I reacted with I Don’t Know How To Love Him.  My family, and my friends in and outside the parishes I’ve served, have shown me Love Changes Everything – not in the sense of altering, but transforming – enabling me to recognise my faults, value my gifts, and honour my priesthood.  In the end, love IS all you need.  For whatever part you’ve played in my 50 years, I bless and thank you.  You are my life, my treasure.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 15 June 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

I have invited you to participate in the Synod consultation process which you are able to do either as individuals or in various groups. I am most grateful to those of you from around the diocese who have already sent in responses. At the heart of the process I have invited you to engage in is a deep and profound respect for one another. This respect come from the conviction that each of us can learn from another, that each of us may be an instrument of God’s Spirit.

In asking you to do this I want to tell you that I need to hear your words, spoken courageously and with humility from your hearts. I need to hear the words that have been given shape in prayer and reflection. I need to hear the words which have been prompted by the Holy Spirit and then spoken, knowing that they have come from the inspiration of God’s Spirit. This is happening in the submissions which have been coming in, and it is a joy to see people speaking up so honesty and constructively.

This current phase of the Synod process is vital for us if the Synod is to bear fruit. Therefore I really encourage everyone to participate prayerfully in this discernment time, with listening ears and with listening hearts. In these weeks our spoken words, and our listening must come from quiet prayer and a genuine openness to the experiences and vision of those who share their thoughts with us. Words that have been spoken over and over again may suddenly be heard as if for the first time, they may ring with a truth we have previously missed. If we listen with our hearts, as well as with our heads, I am sure that we will come to see our mission in a whole new way. We will then step out on a new direction which God challenges us to follow as we are sent out into the world taking Jesus and His Gospel with us.

With sincere thanks for all that you ae doing and with every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.