Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 20 August 2017

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At home we have a golden retriever called Kobe.  He is nearly two years old and his favourite place to sit at dinner time is under the table. The rule in the house is to not feed him but somehow this seems to be a rule in name only as those around the table all seem to find something on their plates that they are willing to give him.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” In Jesus’ time the word “dogs” was a common colloquial expression among Jews for Gentiles. In this story, Jesus is on one of his few visits outside Jewish territory. The woman who speaks to him is non-Jewish. Her reply to Jesus is, “Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their master.” Jesus responds by telling her she has great faith.  Why?

Because even though she is an outsider, someone who on the face of it did not qualify to be in Jesus’ company, let alone hear anything he had to say, through her great suffering she is determined to access the power of this person she has heard about. She will take whatever scraps she can get. Her first thought was not am I deserving of this. She was just persistently determined to be open to receive whatever this man Jesus could give her.

Just like Kobe sits under the table and is open to anything we give him, we too are invited to be open to receiving God’s grace and mercy, totally unearned and complete gift. We don’t receive it because we are good but because God is good. What’s more, the underlying theme running through all the readings today reminds us that this is freely available to everyone, all peoples, all nations, the world.

With every blessing
Fiona Rammell, Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 13 August 2017

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OUR A G M

The parish committees responsible for pastoral care and development, liturgy and finance, reported to our annual meeting last Sunday. I also gave an account of my ministry with you over the past year.  The meeting had been promoted as an opportunity for you, the parishioners, to hear what’s been going on and what lies ahead in the life of the parish. It was also an occasion for meeting participants from across the range of Masses celebrated at the cathedral each week. About 40 participated.

What stood out for me from the various reports, was the fact that we have a great number of people involved in the life of the parish.  Apart from the three committees (totalling 25 members), we have a senior and boys’ choirs, musicians, a music group, servers, ministers of the Word and Communion, sacristans, welcomers and guardians, collectors, hospitality teams, Food Bank coordinators, Prayer and Scripture groups, Rosary and Divine Mercy devotions. All this in addition to a Secretary, a Lay Pastoral Leader, a Director of Music and a Parish Priest!

A few weeks ago I wrote that a parish is nothing without people. Well, we have close to 250 people involved in a variety of services and activities and this speaks well for the health of the parish. Priests come and go. They might stimulate growth and encourage participation, but it is you, the people, who are the beating heart of the community. Thank you for “beating” so well.

I concluded my report, in this my 10th year among you, “with deep gratitude for the faith that richly endowers this parish, for you, the people, who bring the parish to life, for the rock solid commitment that keeps us assembling in worship, and for your love that anchors me here. Thank you, everyone.”

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection – 6 August 2017

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We all have those moments. We look around us and are in awe of what we are seeing. Something that springs to mind is when we see a wonderful sunset. There is something about it that captivates us.

When a group of friends headed to the mountains with Jesus, they too were captivated by what they were seeing.

Often words are not enough to describe these moments. There is a deeper sense of knowing that something big is happening but we can’t quite explain it. And to try and explain it to someone who has not experienced it almost becomes nonsensical. In these moments we are transfigured.

The dictionary describes transfiguration as a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state.”

It’s in moments like these that the junk in our lives suddenly looks different. We catch a glimpse of something impossible to put into words.

Jesus wanted to draw his friends into this experience sharing with them a reality that they would later come to understand and would enable them to get them through the tough times he knew were ahead.

Our story is the same as the Apostles. It is about getting through the tough times rather than being rescued from them. The disciples came to see Jesus as someone who could take away their fear. From expecting Jesus to be a revolutionary leader in the political sense their understanding was transfigured to see the “Kingdom” as a spiritual reality. Jesus travels with us, inviting us in the words of the liturgy to offer everything “through him, with him and in him.”

This gives us the hope and faith to continue being disciples of Jesus. Without that it would be too easy to give up.

With every blessing
Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection – 23 July 2017

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Weeds and Wheat Together

During the week I found myself over reacting to something one of my children had failed to do. His brother said to me, “Mum it wasn’t just what he did that upset you. There’s more to this than what he did.” Instead of going into denial mode and telling my son how wrong he was, I took some time to reflect on the situation. It didn’t take too long before I knew what he said had a lot of truth in it. I had been struggling with how I felt about myself and I saw my son’s failure to help me as confirmation of those feelings.

Most of my life I have always strived for perfection. In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling us that our only true perfection is our honest acceptance of our imperfections. We are all a mixture of weeds and wheat and we always will be. It’s in the messiness of everyday life that we come face to face with both the good and the bad in ourselves and others. As Martin Luther says, we are “simul justus et peccator“. We are simultaneously saint and sinner. We are weeds and wheat together. Understanding this helps us to neither think too highly of ourselves nor dismiss ourselves as terrible.

The learning for us is in accepting our own weeds, rather than getting entangled with the weeds of others. Then we are in a good place to love ourselves and others despite our faults or theirs.

With every blessing

Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 16 July 2017

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EUTHANASIA?

The Parliamentary Select Committee that investigated into ending one’s life in New Zealand has yet to make its report, but New Zealanders have made it abundantly clear that they are not in favour of legalising euthanasia. An unprecedented number of submissions rejected the idea by 4 to 1.

Nevertheless, an “End of Life Choice Bill” has been drawn from the Ballot and will be debated in Parliament later this month. It is important that the voice of the people be heard, and a law that will not be able to avoid unintended consequences be roundly defeated.

Opening the door to a death-on-demand policy, however tightly restricted the option might be, increases the possibility of manipulation, whereby the elderly or terminally ill could be made to feel obligated to seek a medically assisted death.  Just as no one wants to see their loved one suffering, or awaiting death through a protracted illness, nobody wants to be a burden on others. A request for a medically assisted death from a patient may present as a rational and conscious decision while, in reality, because of pressure or a sense of duty is not a completely free choice. No legislation should enable such an unjust situation to arise.

Nor can our lawmakers expect the medical profession to abandon the commitment to heal and preserve life by making them collaborators in the termination of life.

Our Bishops ask us to become well-informed on this issue, and invite us to send postcards to our MPs urging them to vote “No” to this Bill. Please do so.

I was reminded recently of words of St Augustine: what’s right is right, even if no one is doing it; and what’s wrong is wrong, even if everyone’s doing it.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.