Tag Archives: Parish

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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The Cathedral Connection – 1 October 2017

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As a mother, this Gospel story really resonates with me. So often I ask my children to do something and the reply is, “yes I’ll do it later.” What I hear is, “I’m not going to do it but by telling you I am going to do it later it will mean you will get off my back.” On a good day I will let it go. But on a day when I am feeling a bit stressed I’ll argue the fact that I want it done now. And we all know only too well how that scenario plays out!

In the story it says the son changed his mind. In reality both sons changed their minds. They both did the opposite of what they said they were going to do. But what if what they did was more than just changing their minds? What if what really happened was a change of heart? It was this same change of heart that was easy for the tax collectors and prostitutes to do but for some reason the ‘so called learned’ just didn’t get it.

What is it that stops us from having a change of heart? What is it that makes us say one thing but then we do something else?

So often we find ourselves doing this. We may say we will pop in and have a cuppa with someone but we never really find the time. Or we may say we will get onto that pile of paperwork but there is always something more interesting to spend our time on. What really matters is right practice and right words.

Not so long ago, after hearing someone saying wonderful words but seeing their actions were not reflecting what they were saying, it made me sit up and think, “Am I like that? Do I do that?” I sat down and wrote in big bold letters: May my actions always reflect my words. We know the saying actions speak louder than words but what if we made a real point of our words and actions singing from the same song sheet and really resonating rather than being a clanging bell?

There’s a song by Neil Diamond called “What a beautiful noise.” It speaks about a beautiful noise going on everywhere and that it’s the music of life. It’s well worth listening to. Perhaps we can be the start of a revolution that has our words and actions singing off the


same music sheet creating a beautiful noise.

Fiona Rammell, Lay Pastoral Leader


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