Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 12 November 2017

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Have you ever wondered why the bridesmaids in today’s parable, didn’t share their oil with the bridesmaids who didn’t have enough? Perhaps they missed the memo to do to others what you would want done to you.

Is there is a deeper meaning here?  Maybe the oil is representing not something to share but something that is already ours.

I remember saying to my children you can’t have my faith. You need a faith of your own. What if the oil represents our faith?  Understanding the Gospel in this way turns it on its head. Just as I cannot give my maths ability (which has taken years of study to achieve), to someone else, so too, I cannot give my faith to someone else.

Each one of us needs to cultivate our own faith and we do this by being prepared, staying awake and with an awareness of the importance of remaining connected to God and present to all that is around us – God’s love shown in so many different ways.

So when the lamp (us) is full of oil (God’s love) we can be light (love) to those we meet. And to do this we choose (free will) whether to fill our lamps with oil or not. How we fill our lamps is unique to each one of us but no one else can do the filling for us. We cannot live a life of faith by proxy, but by being fully aware and part of the process.

We are responsible for our own oil which then will keep our light burning brightly in anticipation of the great feast that we are already part of and one day will share with everyone.

The practice of Lectio Divina which we experienced a few weeks ago was one way of keeping oil in our lamps. What other ways do you ensure you have enough “oil” in your “lamp” so you can burn brightly with love to all those you meet?

Fiona Rammell,
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 5 November 2017

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Fr John Berry was parish priest of our Cathedral Parish from 1997 to 2004. He died last week, 26 October, after some years of ill health and care in the Home of Compassion, Silverstream. His Requiem Mass was in the Cathedral he served and loved so faithfully, on Friday 3 November.

It is difficult to summarise the life of a priest. His ministry is among people and within the circumstances, concerns and even contradictions of their lives. He meets their sorrows and their joys, and holds confidences which he can never share. His own personality can be interpreted or experienced according to the variety of roles in which he is placed. He is a public figure for whom privacy can be elusive. He is an individual who lives for the common good.

From the tributes given Fr John, it is apparent that he lived his priesthood with great generosity, touching the lives of people with compassion and empathy. I knew him as priest eager to give his best. He placed his communication and music skills at the service of God’s people with humour and delightful energy and brought dignity and grace to the liturgy. He lived a life of stewardship.

For all this, he offered his priesthood without favour, meaning that each person could perhaps have a different appreciation of his work. That is why an accurate summary is so difficult. What is most important now, is to thank God for the priestly ministry that meant so much to John Berry and to those he served, to pray for him as he enters the reign of God he lived for, and to encourage others to take his place in our crazy, difficult to define but extraordinarily wonderful priesthood!

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 22 October 2017

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The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) provides clear teaching about the ways in which Jesus is present to us through the Liturgy – our formal, public worship.  Jesus is present: 1. In the gathering of the people; 2. In the proclamation of the Word; 3. In the person of the Presider (who leads in the name of Jesus); 4. When the Church prays and sings; 5. And, especially, in the Eucharist.

While it is the Eucharistic presence that is given most emphasis, each of the other four has great value for our faith journey.  Pope Francis, as part of his thrust to reawaken the messages and teachings of the Council, has called us to give more attention to the Sacred Scriptures, to the living word of God, and to appreciate the “presence” of Jesus in the Liturgy of the Word.

That is why next Sunday the focus will be on that part of the Mass, and we will be helped to fully listen and truly hear the sacred reading.  There will be only one reading, the Gospel [Matthew 22: 34-40].  The process that will take us through the reading is known as Lectio Divina, requiring only a willingness to listen prayerfully to the reading, remaining open to hear the Word of God speaking to your heart.

The presence of Jesus as the Word is proclaimed, is real, dynamic, and an effective guide for daily living.  While we will use this approach on only one Sunday, it is a technique you can use personally at any time.  Come prepared next Sunday for this experience.  Read the chapter [Matthew 22] early in the week.  As suggested earlier, you may like to bring a copy of the text in your first language as it could assist concentration and help provide insight.

May we all fully listen and truly hear.

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 15 October 2017

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The Parish Delegates Synod 17 Reflection insert can be viewed here.


My time away from the parish over these past six weeks could not have been possible without the cheerful assistance of several people willing to share themselves and their time. Fr Ron and Fr Soane from Otari Parish and Fr Jim Dooley from Marist Centre enabled the schedule of Masses to continue and stepped in to cover emergencies. Our parish secretary, Frank Doherty, supported by music director, Michael Fletcher, kept the office humming beautifully and our newly appointed Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, gave wonderful service.

This combination of talent and commitment gave me the security to relax and enjoy a great holiday, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I’m also grateful that you, dear parishioners, kept turning up! That speaks so positively for the leadership you experienced. Thank you, everyone!

So much of significance occurred during my absence and I shall reflect a little on that in my homily today. But, looking ahead, I want to encourage you to prepare for our response to Pope Francis’ invitation to spend time with Sacred Scripture – specifically in the Masses of 28-29 October.

There will be only one Reading in that Sunday Mass, the Gospel [Matthew 22:34-40] and we will spend time together listening to it and uncovering its message for each of us. The technique is known as Lectio Divina, with emphasis on truly hearing the Word of God, letting that Word settle within me, drawing me to realise its relevance for my life as a follower of Christ.

Remember that Scripture is the living Word of God and as such is pulsating, dynamic, energising. By opening heart and mind to its influence, it can guide, challenge, comfort and renew both personal and community life. Prepare by reading the whole chapter [Matthew 22]. Using a Bible in your first language might be even more profitable. More on this next week.

Thank you for your love and support. It is good to be back home.

Fr James

The Cathedral Connection 8 October 2017

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Isn’t life frustrating? You can do everything right, ensure everything is prepared, feel like you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s and then things don’t quite work out the way you thought they would.

We see this in the first reading today where the vineyard owner does everything “right” and yet the crop is nowhere near what he expected.

In the Gospel the vineyard owner also expects that by sending his son, the tenants will pay up, but once again his expectations are dashed.

I read recently that an expectation is a disappointment waiting to happen. When we live life expecting certain behaviour from others, we live in constant flux.

The Gospel confirms for us that yes we will be treated badly in this life, yes things don’t always go the way we want them to, yes our expectations are often dashed and yes there are people that will want control no matter the price.

Paul shows us in the second reading that we can be at peace despite our circumstances. Here he is, in prison yet fully at peace with his situation.

Often we are the architects of our own lack of peace. When all hell is breaking lose around us it is much easier to walk in that spirit than it is to be counter intuitive and walk in a spirit of peace and love. Think of any hero or great person and what set them apart almost always was their working in a spirit opposite to that which was happening all around them.

Take Jesus for example. He never let his circumstances become the excuse to give up hope. In today’s readings he once again makes this point. Even though at times it is so hard to remain peaceful and gracious when every hair on our body is aching to scream out at the injustices we see happening all around us, we are called to be people of justice, people of love, people of forgiveness, people of honour. This does not mean that we do nothing but that whatever we do is done from a peaceful centre. Then it won’t be our circumstances dictating our behaviour but our behaviour being led by a spirit of peace.

Fiona Rammell
Lay Pastoral Leader

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