Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 18 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


 ONCE AGAIN Lent is with us. From a time when the emphasis was on “giving up” and “making sacrifices”, we are now asked to see this graced season as an opportunity to improve ourselves and our relationships by

  • deepening our awareness of what it means to be a Catholic Christian in the 21st century;
  • examining our personal relationship with God, self, others and creation;
  • looking beyond our own needs to help alleviate suffering and hardship elsewhere.

Reaching these goals can be helped by taking time for quiet reflection or meditation and/or joining one of the archdiocesan adult education programmes. The Caritas Lenten initiatives open paths to developing faith and becoming more alert to the ways in which faith can be put into action.

The ash that signals the beginning of Lent is the banner that champions change.  It can make winners of us all.

Fr James


Burned palms
Echoes of triumph
Trampled underfoot
Squashed into ash

Smeared on foreheads
Lifted up for blessing
Hopeful new beginnings
With the sign of the

Runners on the mark
And forty days ahead
Ash defies the critics
Signalling glory
Going for gold

 The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 11 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Parishioners

Change. Letting go. These are the words flying around in my head as I draw to the end of my time with you. We tend to resist change or letting go, even though nature shows us every day how necessary and inevitable it is for life to flourish. We just need to look at the life of Jesus to see how change and letting go was such a part of his ministry. In fact, our faith believes in the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. If that isn’t a lot of change in just a few days then what is!

Yet, despite all this knowledge, we still fret when change happens.  We are fearful of the new. We hear ourselves say “back in my day” recounting tales of when we believed things were great and if only they could be like that now. If only things could stay the same.

Sometimes change happens to us and sometimes we effect the change.  As we see the leper in today’s Gospel was changed by the healing hands of Jesus.

In my short time here with you I have felt your healing hands as you have welcomed me and helped shape and mould me into the person I am today. As I leave my ministry among you, which has been an honour and a wonderful experience, I ask for your prayers as I move into a new way of being God’s hands and heart to those I will go on to serve.

Yes, letting go is difficult, change is inevitable, but the memories I have of walking amongst you will remain with me. For this I am most grateful.

Love and blessings


The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 4 February 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Parishioners

The sadness and disappointment many of you expressed at the news that our Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, was leaving us next month, match my own reaction. Although she has been with us less than a year, without the opportunity to cover every parish situation, she has had a most positive influence and our partnership in ministry showed great promise. Fiona will continue to assist until mid-February when the Parish will bid her farewell.

We are fortunate, however, that Cardinal John is providing us with another Lay Pastoral Leader. Debbie Matheson will join us in March. Most recently she has been Consultant in the Parish Leadership Ministries for the Archdiocese and comes from Plimmerton Parish. Some will already know Debbie through contact with the Catholic Centre and in Stewardship workshops. She will be a welcome addition to our pastoral team and, like Fiona, will bring her love of people and commitment to the Gospel to her service among us. Cardinal John will Commission Debbie at the 5.30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 7 April.

We must not underestimate the privilege that is ours to have this assistance. Lay Pastoral Leaders have received spiritual and academic formation over several years to equip them for leadership roles in parishes. They are commissioned to administer a parish in the absence of a priest, and to serve as partners with priests in every aspect of pastoral care. Every parish contributes to their financial support, even though they serve in only a few parishes.

As I have some health issues to deal with this year and am approaching the retirement phase of my priesthood, Debbie’s appointment is a wonderful blessing. I know you will welcome her as you did Fiona, and as I certainly do.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection Christmas 2017 & January 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The piece that brings us peace

In the waiting area at Wellington’s cancer clinic is a large jigsaw puzzle. Pieces are put in place throughout the day as people either await appointments or those they’ve accompanied to the clinic. Sharing responsibility for the puzzle is more than a way of passing the time: the activity quietly links those who share the uncertainty and anxiety that illness brings.

Piecing together any puzzle on your own can be frustrating and is often impossible.  We need help for most things and especially when it comes to meaning. What’s life all about?  Where is my own life going – and why?

For Christians, Christmas offers the last piece of the puzzle. The gift of God in Jesus is an exact fit, presenting us with the whole picture. I have come that you may have life in its fullness, Jesus tells us. Holding that to be true, is key to an understanding of life, providing a context for the uncertainties and anxieties that are bound to confront us.

God loved the world so much that help could be delayed no longer. The coming of Jesus, clothed with humanity and born as we are born, reveals a God opening a path to perfection, made easy with the balm of mercy and the tenderness of a parent’s love. His message that we should love one another as he has loved us gives us a reason to bond together in mutual trust and service. It is in this “revelation” that we find all the meaning we will ever need.

Greetings and blessings to all who come to celebrate the Christmas festival. In this mystery of “God-with-us” you will find the piece that fits exactly the space in your heart or the gap in your life. It is the gift of Jesus, his peace, that we instinctively long for and which he promises will last for ever.

Fr James Lyons            Fiona Rammell
Parish Priest                 Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 17 December 2017

The full Parish newsletter can be viewed here.
The Parish School end of year newsletter can be viewed here.


The 10.30am Mass today is a “Family Mass”. On this occasion, the younger children among us take leading roles in the celebration and, with just a week before Christmas, offer an interpretation of the Bethlehem story. This may mean some disruption, as the youngsters may not get everything in the right order, or may not be clearly heard by everyone. Perhaps their excitement will disturb the silence many are used to; others may find this Mass more informal than usual.

Yes, things may be a little different, but this is one occasion we should all “rejoice and be glad” to be part of. The fact that our children want to be with us older folk, and want to participate by sharing their understanding of the coming of Jesus, speaks well of their families and their schooling, and tells us the story of God’s love revealed in Jesus is very much alive for the next generation.

The scene might accurately portray the “chaos” not only of the first Christmas, when there was overcrowding and general mayhem, but the situation when any family gets together. Noisy arrivals, constant chatter, kitchen mess, bedding everywhere, excitement and nonsense! There might be exhaustion at the end but no one really minds. It was so lovely just being together!

This is my prayer for our parish family as we near Christmas and on into 2018:

May we each know the strength of togetherness and be grateful for
our differences. May we pause in our busyness to look in wonder
at the beauty about us. May we honour the poverty of the
first Christmas and know the richness of the peace it brings.
May we welcome laughter, gift joy to every moment, give thanks for
everything and journey on with hope-filled hearts.

Fr James