Tag Archives: Parish

The Cathedral Connection 16 April 2017

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Signs and symbols!  Where would life be without them?  Road signs, weather signs, danger signs, a flower, a thoughtful gift – these and so much more help us to connect with life and one another.  In the life of faith, we rely heavily on signs and symbols, and Easter is packed full of them.

The images of light and darkness embrace the Easter Vigil, leading to the Mass of Resurrection.  The Easter Candle, lit from the fire of new birth, breaks through the darkness of the night and heralds the dawn of Christ’s triumph.  As the flame is passed through the gathering, many lights signal the spread of the faith, rekindling hope after the sombre season of Lent.

Our scripture readings draw images with words, telling the creation story and placing water alongside fire, not to quench it but to complement its creative and purifying qualities.  This guides the Vigil towards the celebration of Baptism.  Then follows the pouring of oil for Confirmation, signalling healing and strength; oil seals a commitment, and consecrates a person for service.

Easter Day brings colour and light to the fore and celebration is the purpose of our ritual.  The story continues to unfold with an empty tomb and its aftermath.  It is a day to welcome everyone, for the death and resurrection of Jesus is for all people.  Death has been defeated.  Life is the champion.  What greater “good news” could there be?

Signs and symbols help us cope with mystery, and the Easter mystery is as big as it gets.  Just as we can never see the inside of an onion – peel it layer by layer, but it still remains an onion – we can never fully grasp a mystery.  The only way to “see” the mystery (and the onion) is to experience it.  So, plunge into this season.  Hear, see, smell, taste, feel the mystery that is Christ risen and among us, and enjoy a truly blessed Easter.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


The Cathedral Connection 9 April 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


From Palm Sunday to Easter Day the Church travels from Hosanna! to Alleluia! – from adulation to hatred, from acclaim to denial, as death shows its true colours, and then to awe and wonder as life proves victorious.  Hope shines through the darkest of nights.

This week is named “Holy Week” as it holds the kernel of our faith – the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is less a time of celebration than of commemoration, a time to remember and reflect on the wonderful things God has done for us, most notably in and through the gift of Jesus.

The highlights of Holy Week include the Chrism Mass (Tuesday evening) when the Oils used for the Sacraments are consecrated by Cardinal John and entrusted to representatives from each parish; the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Thursday) when Jesus enables the continuation of his presence through the Eucharist; Good Friday, when we commemorate his death, and the Easter Vigil, with the welcome of new Catholics and the Mass of Resurrection.

This year, the ceremony of Holy Thursday will combine the Cathedral and St Mary of the Angels parishes, marking the reopening of St Mary’s following a four-year closure for earthquake strengthening.

Try to be part of this Holy Week.  Use these holy days to thank God for the gift of faith and for the blessings in your life which faith makes visible.  Be thankful, too, for the goodness that surrounds you in people and in creation.  Let the power of this Week permeate your spirit, strengthening you as a bearer of mercy, peace and forgiveness.  There is no better way to celebrate Easter.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 2 April 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


At the 10.30 Mass today our Catechumens will be presented with The Lord’s Prayer as they near the end of their journey to full initiation in the Catholic Church.  Their growing commitment is a cause for us “seasoned” Catholics to consider our own situation and how much we might take the gift of faith for granted.

The Lord’s Prayer is a reminder that it belongs to all who follow the way of Jesus, uniting Christians even where our traditions and dogmas keep us apart.  It is a humbling prayer, acknowledging our need of God as children need a loving, understanding parent; it is a prayer that challenges our pride and the difficulties we have forgiving hurts and insults; it is a prayer that exposes our fear of the unknown and our hope that we will be protected from evil.

Such a prayer should never be prayed without thought, even while it should be prayed often.  Like the faith we live by, The Lord’s Prayer is a sacred trust, given by Jesus as he revealed the closeness of God to each and every person.  Pray “Our Father…” this week for our Catechumens, for Christian unity, and for each other, that we might be ever thankful for the gift of Jesus and uphold the dignity of one another in word and action.

The raising of Lazarus climaxes the Lenten emphasis on the life-giving power of Jesus, and prepares us for the week we call Holy Week when death, seeking to dominate, is defeated forever.  May we joyfully accompany those who will join us in the Easter waters of new life.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 12 March 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Mark your calendar for the afternoon of
Saturday 29 April.

That’s the day Cardinal John will be with Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish to lead us towards a deeper appreciation of the principle shaping the future of our Archdiocese:  Stewardship.

From 1.30 – 4.30pm, all parishioners are invited to Connolly Hall to hear Cardinal John explain Stewardship as a way of life. You will hear him speak of it as “a disciple’s response” – the reaction of anyone who realises that their life is held in being by gifts poured out by a generous, ever-loving God.

There will be an opportunity for those present to share ideas as to why and how we might embrace this principle. Gifting yourself back to God as a helper and friend, especially through the gift that makes you uniquely you, and with your “time and treasure”. What could our parish look like if we took the Stewardship principle seriously?

Then, between 4.30 and 8.30pm, the parish “Leadership Team”, including the principals and Board reps from Cathedral School and St Mary’s College, will meet to prepare a pastoral plan, based on your afternoon input.

There will be further reminders as Stewardship Day approaches. The first thing is the mark it on your calendar. Commit now to be a part of it. In the meantime, when you think of Stewardship think of Gratitude, and these words of St Peter:
Each one of you has received a special grace,
so, like good stewards responsible for all
these varied graces of God, put it at
the service of others. [1Peter 4:10] 

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 5 March 2017

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The 40 days of Lent are 40 single, separate days, not a hard, solid block impossible to manage. Taking Lent one day at a time is the best and most productive way of using this gifted time to check over my personal relationship with God, with the people in my life and with the world in which I live. These relationships are keys to my happiness, and Lent is the best time of the year to realise their value.

The Catholic agency for justice, peace and development, Caritas, provides resources to assist both personal and community reflection during this season.  Whether or not you are participating in a Lenten discussion group, the prayers and information in the reflection booklet are excellent material for private use. [Copies on sale in Foyer]

Your face, O Lord, do I seek, is the overall theme of the Caritas programme. Taken from Psalm 27, it voices the urgency with which someone, who realises the sterility of their inward looking existence, now wants to be rescued. God does not hide from us but is in clear view, in every person and in all of creation. It is putting yourself first, being concerned only with what affects you, that ultimately blinds you from God’s presence.

By taking Lent one day at a time, you can pace yourself more positively on the road along which the face of God comes to meet you. A more deliberate approach gives time to look in different places, to consider more possibilities. The face of God is everywhere and, just as every day is different, the variety of people, situations and experiences encountered each day with faith, will renew all your relationships and God will be “all in all”.

Have a great Lent!

Fr James

The full newsletter can be downloaded here.