Tag Archives: Archdiocese

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 19 April 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Dear Friends
In his first major document “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis told us that if we are to evangelize we must start by “renewing our personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” (EG 3) That was in 2013. Pope Francis has written another document called Gaudete et Exsultate, which is on the call to holiness in the world today. In this latest apostolic exhortation, he is telling us how to renew our personal encounter with Jesus.

As far back as 1975 Pope Paul VI wrote an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Nuntiandi. In that he told us of the need to “deepen, consolidate and nourish” our faith and allow it to mature (EN 54). There is clearly a need for all of us to keep growing in faith, to deepen our under-standing, to come to a greater appreciation of what we believe.

Every one of us is obliged in some way to keep reading, to do some study, to change our ways of praying in order to grow in our relationship with God. In his exhortation Paul VI suggested that we seek the kingdom, build it up, live it and pro-claim it (EN 8/13). In this new document Pope Francis tells us that growing in personal holiness cannot be separated from building the Kingdom of God. Our Christian life, our choice to live as disciples of Jesus demands that we live and show in words and deeds what we claim to profess. We know that we are not all called to be teachers or preachers, but we need to be able to offer some reasons for the hope that is in us (c/f 1 Peter 3.15)

Last year we had the Archdiocesan Synod with the theme “Go You Are Sent.” It was very clear from the discernment and the sharing, before, during and after the Synod, that if we want to respond generously to the call and to be “sent out,” if we want to be serious about “mission effectiveness” then we need to grow in our understanding and appreciation of our faith. We need to be holy people. Pope Francis’ new letter will help us to do this, as it sets holiness in the context of daily life. He gives us “five great expressions” of love of God and neighbour that he considers particularly important. They are:

Perseverance, patience and meekness
Joy and a sense of humour
Boldness and passion
In community
In constant prayer

Please make an effort to read, study and pray with Gaudete et Exsultate. There is a link to this on the homepage of the Vatican website.

With every blessing.

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 5 April 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Easter blessings to you all.

In my last newsletter, I wrote about the words of St Paul “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27) I also went on to talk about how, as the years go by, and we celebrate another Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday we simply delve deeper and deeper into its richness and meaning. In delving deeper and deeper into the mystery we grow in love, understanding and appreciation of the mystery of God in our own lives.

I have heard over the last few days many wonderful comments about beautiful liturgies celebrated around the parishes over Easter. Thank you to all who prepared those liturgies and worked hard to make them a prayerful and reflective experience for all. These days have certainly provided the opportunity to experience the mystery of Christ among us.

It is my hope and prayer that each of you has been graced in some special way this Easter, graced and loved by the actions and love of Christ himself. I can only hope that Easter has touched me in such a way that I want to respond in a more generous and gracious way to the events of daily life, the routine and mundane situations where God is also present. Because this is about God’s goodness I don’t just want this for myself, I want it for everyone in this Church of Wellington to which we all belong.

Easter, is not just the few days of ceremonies and then we go about our daily lives again. As we delve deeper into these mysteries we come to understand that we too die to the things we want and are attracted to, and in letting them go we find a new life. We find life gifted, graced with Jesus who still stands among us and says “Peace be with you.”
May His Peace and abundant blessings be your this Easter.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 March 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
I am always amused when at Christmas and Easter so many people say, “this is of course your busy time of the year.” I am amused because for me it is not. I celebrate the liturgies, prepare many homilies, but I never see it as busy. I see it as an incredible privilege to be with God’s people and to celebrate together, to remember what God is doing among us. I have always been fascinated by the words of St Paul to the Colossians; “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27) Whatever we come together to
celebrate, Christmas, Easter, Ordinary Sundays of the Year, Solemnities of Christ, Feasts of Our Lady, the Apostles, the Saints, whatever it is Christ is among us and we are remembering.

All liturgical prayer is an act of remembering. Specifically, for us Christians, this prayer remembers Christ’s saving mystery, the paschal Mystery. As mystery Christ’s saving act can never be exhausted. The wonderful thing about it is that over time, as the years go by and we celebrate another Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday we simply delve deeper and deeper into its richness and meaning. We come to understand the paschal mystery as Jesus’ passing through death to risen life. It’s true, it is that, but the mystery is much deeper and broader. The paschal mystery is not only about Christ, it is also about us.

St Paul makes it abundantly clear that at baptism we are plunged into what we call the paschal mystery (which actually doesn’t begin with Jesus death, but with His Incarnation).

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into this death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into his death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so too we might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 3-4)

Over the coming days we will celebrate and remember the mystery of Jesus Christ passing from death to life. It is our mystery too. This mystery describes how we live from day to day as disciples of Jesus. This is who we are and how we are to live as faithful followers of Christ. It means that we need to ask ourselves every day, probably several times a day: “Am I living through Him and with Him and In Him.”

When we can say from time to time “Yes, I am living through Him and with Him and In Him,” then we know “The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory.” (Col 1: 27)

With every blessing
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 8 March 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,
I invite you to look at the Holy Fathers prayer intentions video for this month. He tells us in this short video clip “the time in which we live calls us to develop a deep capacity for discernment.” www.thepopevideo.org

Last year in the process leading up to our Archdiocesan Synod we used a prayerful process of discernment. Time after time people spoke to me about how much they appreciated using this discernment process, and about how they were applying it to other areas of their life, the Parish Council, the Liturgy Committee, their family lives, and for many just the way they lived out their daily lives as disciples of Jesus. So many people appreciated this opportunity and how this “time of discernment” enabled them to make a better and more informed response to daily life situations, a Gospel response.

Later this year there will be a Synod in Rome, the theme of which is “Young people, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” In his message about it, Pope Francis asks young people to reflect on their past and how “the Almighty has done great things” for them. He encourages young people to be aware of the present moment – not to be frightened by it or by their own self-doubts, but to take courage and be open to accepting the Lord’s invitation to engage and to lead in Church and in society.

Discernment is very important for Pope Francis. In this month’s prayer intentions, we see a woman walking through a park with a map in her hand while trying to find the right path. She decides to ask various people for directions. However, each one of them gives her a different answer. Desperate because she can’t find her way, the woman decides to sit down on a bench. She puts the map down and asks God for help. Through her internal reflection, she discovers the answer she was looking for.

The Pope is asking all Catholics “to discern the Lord’s voice among all the voices; which is His voice that drives us to the resurrection, the voice that frees us from falling into the culture of death.”

The Holy Father explains that everyone needs to internally decipher what the Lord asks of him or her to live with love and continue his mission of love. He reminds us that every Christian ought to grow in the ability to “read within” his or her life and to understand where and to what he or she is being called to by the Lord to carry on the mission God has for us.

Pope Francis also asks the Church to recognize the urgent need for formation in spiritual discernment, on an individual level as well as in communities. I have no doubt that this kind of discernment is need-ed today in a world where there are so many voices clamouring for our attention, where there are so many things distracting and preoccupying us.

Are we open to learning more about discerning how to listen for the voice of the Lord? Remember “If only you would listen to him today, do not harden your hearts …”
Psalm 95:8

With every blessing
+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 22 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends

For the last few years Pope Francis has invited the world to participate in 24 Hours of Prayer for the Lord. He has requested this again this year with the theme being “With you is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4). This year the Church of Sts Peter and Paul (Lower Hutt) in Te Awakairangi Parish will host this time of prayer from 6pm Friday 9th March until 6pm Saturday 10th March. This 24 hours will be, as People Francis calls it, “a moment of grace.” I have written to all parishes asking that this be promoted and people be encouraged to come, and I have asked priests to be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This will all take place within the context of Eucharistic Adoration.

As well as the request to participate in the 24 Hours of Prayer for the Lord, Pope Francis has also called for an ecumenical day of prayer and fasting for peace for tomorrow 23rd February. This prayer is to have a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Pope Francis made his call on Sunday 11th February in his Angelus address. “Faced with the tragic continuation of conflict in several parts of the world, I invite all faithful to a special day of prayer and fasting for peace on this coming 23 February, Friday of the First Week of Lent. We will offer this in particular to the populations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of South Sudan. As on other similar occasions, I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to participate in this initiative in the ways they consider most appropriate, but all together.”

I realise that this is late notice and that we have not had time to arrange anything ecumenically, although Arch-bishop Philip Richardson (Anglican Primate in New Zealand) and I have made a joint statement about this. Even with this late notice I reiterate the request of the Holy Father and ask for prayers for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of South Sudan.

As I make these requests for these two special times of prayer I also ask that you pray especially for Pope Francis. In the times I have met him over the last three years he has said every time “Pray for me.” He needs our prayers. He is a remarkable leader. He approaches world problems with courage and humility and leads the Church with great pastoral sensitivity and concern for people. He deserves and needs our prayerful support. Please pray for him.

Finally remember that Lent in itself as “a moment of grace,” make the most of it and accompany your prayer, fasting and works of charity with a sincere desire for a conversion of heart.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.