Tag Archives: Parish

The Cathedral Connection 4 March 2018

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Last Sunday we said goodbye to Fiona Rammell, our Lay Pastoral Leader over the past year. Fortunately, all is not lost. The parish is blessed to gain a replacement LPL, Debbie Matheson, who formally began her service last Thursday, 1 March. She will be commissioned by Cardinal John at the 5.30pm Vigil Mass on Saturday 7 April.

Letting Fiona go was not easy for me, or for the many people she had served during her time with us. Her pastoral skills are very rich and reflect her commitment through several years of study and formation. Others will surely benefit from her ministry as new opportunities arise for her. So, we bid Fiona farewell, with grateful hearts.

Our gratitude must also extend to the Archdiocese and the vision of Cardinal Tom Williams who, following our 1998 Synod, devised the “Launch Out” programme to bring lay people into pastoral leadership positions.

The Lay Pastoral Leader is qualified to lead a parish in the absence of a priest, and to work alongside a priest as an equal in pastoral responsibilities. Debbie will assume that role as I prepare to step aside as parish priest.  From now to July, she will “discover” the Cathedral Parish, get alongside the various committees and become familiar with the school programme. Families preparing for the sacraments will also be her territory and we will work together as the parish seeks to help implement the decisions of last year’s Archdiocesan Synod.

Lay Pastoral Leaders are integral to the life of our Archdiocese. While currently serving in only a few parishes, their ministry is encouraging parishioners generally to take more responsibility for parish growth. This is Stewardship in action. The more you accept a stake in your parish, the sense of ownership will expand and God will be able to do marvellous things through us.

Fr James

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HOMILY – 2 LENT [B] 2018

Prepare for the unknown!  That was the message behind the early warning given by weather forecasters ahead of this week’s storm.  The advice to clear drains and secure property and be sensible with travel plans, hinted at the potential severity of what was coming.  We didn’t know for certain, but it seemed wise to trust the warnings and be prepared.

There’s an interesting connection here with the dilemma faced by Abraham when he heard the call to kill his only son, Isaac.  He had earlier heard his God promise that Isaac would be the beginning of a vast dynasty, and now this same God was demanding the boy’s life.  Prepare for the unknown, Abraham.  And he did.  He got everything ready, even convincing Isaac that God would provide.  His trust was tested to the extreme.  Some might argue Abraham was reckless, foolhardy – but his faith was enormous and what great image can be imagined for testing it?

The apostles are also challenged to prepare for the unknown.  On the mountain with Jesus they experience the inexplicable and receive a message beyond their understanding.  The change in Jesus’ appearance frightens them to the core of their being; his words about rising from the dead are met with blank stares – they had no idea what he was talking about.

It’s the same with us.  We don’t know what’s ahead in life.  We don’t always see or want to see what’s right in front of us.  We put our own interpretation on events and behaviour and get impatient if we have to wait for answers.  No one can fully prepare for the unknown and sometimes even what is obvious escapes our comprehension.

Lent is a large moment in time to prepare for the unknown, by getting closer to Jesus through prayer and service, and in this way developing a trust that takes the fear out of not knowing.

The Wellington Central Pastoral Area Newsletter 25 February 2018

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In common speech the word ‘hopefully’ has been downgraded so that it expresses little more than a vague wish: ‘Hopefully, it will be fine tomorrow,’ or ‘Hopefully, it won’t be too busy.’

A novelist describes what it is to live hopefully. One of her characters is a young woman named Sally who has cancer and knows that she is dying. She has two young children.  She is determined not to leave her husband and children with the memory of her dying being a drawn-out horror story as she wallows in despair. She wants her children to remember her as a fun-filled, kind and loving person. As long as she has strength, despite the illness that threatens to overwhelm her, she resolves that she will find purpose and meaning and as much enjoyment as she can in each day. Even though she knows her time on earth is limited she is full of hope that counters despair.

Charles Pinches, a professor of religious studies, says that, unlike optimism, genuine hope is formed in the darkness. This was Sally’s experience.

During Lent we keep company with Jesus as he trod the path that would lead to the cross. The happiness he pursued was not a passing fancy but the true blessedness that comes from a life of overflowing commitment to the way and will of God. Nothing would turn him aside. This is what it is to live hopefully. Living hopefully is grounded in the faithfulness of God and is always linked to action.

Living hopefully is one of the key notes of the gospel that we are called to proclaim throughout Lent, the Easter season and all that lies beyond.

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that [life] makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.  Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), first President of the Czech Republic who spent years imprisoned during the Soviet era.

Extract from editorial by John Meredith in Word and Worship [Autumn 2018]  Used with permission.

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The Cathedral Connection 18 February 2018

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 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

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