All posts by Frank Doherty

About Frank Doherty

Parish Secretary

The Cathedral Connection 23 September 2018

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A LOSS CAN BE FOR THE GOOD

When the All Blacks lost last Saturday night, reaction came quickly. Some criticised the players and coaches. Others took a more philosophical view. It was a great game; we lost to a great team. Perhaps the loss will be good in the long run. It’s what happens after a loss that matters. That describes some of my feelings following a gathering of 185 diocesan priests in Christchurch last week. It was a great sharing in the joy of the sacrament of priesthood. We totalled 4842 years of priestly service! I was able to renew friendship with priests I have long admired, many now growing old gracefully. Then there were the young shoots, many from the Philippines and India, full of energy and a great blessing for our Church. The keynote speakers echoed our own experience that the Church is facing severe difficulties. These are not so much from outside forces but more directly from within. We have suffered a big loss. Now we must take stock and plan ahead. Perhaps this period of time will be good for us. Pope Francis is indeed a Pope for our times. He sees the difficulties and he is challenging us to live the gospel in a new way.

The danger of clericalism. Here priests are treated in a deferential way; they make arbitrary decisions and ‘run the show’. They control what happens. ‘Servant Leadership’ goes out the window. Priests live in a world apart, not smelling like the sheep.’

We must reach out to the peripheries, and not look in on ourselves. Francis sets an example as he meets the refugees at Lampadozza; he washes the feet of women and men of all religions (and none) in prison. Is this not also what Jesus teaches, to reach out to those neglected and ignored, even hated by others.

To remember Paul’s image of the Body (1 Cor 12/ 18-22.) Through baptism, each of us becomes part of the Body of Christ. Each a different and limited part, but once we are joined to, and work with the whole body, we become Christ in action, and can change the world.
We carry on, like the disciples in today’s gospel, having learnt a hard lesson, but determined to be better for it.

Fr Ron Bennett

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The Cathedral Connection 16 September 2018

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Dear Parishioners,

Nearly 200 priests from around New  Zealand met in Christchurch this week reflecting on what it means to be a priest today in a time of unprecedented change.  It has been a dramatic and challenging few days.

Canadian priest, James Mallon, asked the question, “If your church closed tomorrow would anyone who doesn’t go care?”  He then reminded us that international companies, such as Kodak and Swiss Watches went out of business because they didn’t read the signs of the times and change.  The last 20 years have seen incredible change in all aspects of society, demanding new models of ministry for the church and new ways of engaging with an increasingly secular world.  We have to understand that the ”Christian world” no longer exists!

Bishop Vincent Long, a former Vietnamese refugee now Bishop of Parramatta Diocese, NSW, echoed this when he said the Church must return to the “raw canvas” of the Gospel and follow more closely the way of Jesus – the way being modelled by Pope Francis – humility, trust and courage.  Clericalism has betrayed the Gospel!  The priest can no longer act as though the people didn’t count or had nothing to offer. “We must not see ourselves as being ‘apart from’ the people, but being ‘a part of’ them!

Over the next weeks I will be inviting you to reflect with me on these wonderful presentations, and to look with honesty at how we each regard our place in the community and what God in Jesus might be calling us to become.  What really has to change, to enable survival?  If the Church as we have known it has to die, what will be its legacy, and what will remain of the old to give life to the new?

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 9 September 2018

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PLAYING A PART

The annual Social Justice Week opens today.  Its theme, “Enabling Communities”, reminds us that everyone has a part to play in making our communities safe, inclusive, fair, welcoming and compassionate. This “Week” was established in 1997 by our New Zealand Bishops to encourage reflection and action on particular current issues in the light of Catholic social teaching.

Promoting this year’s theme, the bishops state, “Each of us, with our unique gifts and challenges, is interdependent.  By becoming involved in each other’s lives by our presence and service, we grow together as the body of Christ. … To be genuinely included is not just to belong, but to be missed when we are not around.  A responsibility rests on us all to encourage and nurture a sense of belonging and acceptance.”

This has special relevance for us since the closure of the cathedral, our worship centre.  In our adequate but less than ideal temporary “shelters”, we need to be alert to assist the elderly and disabled, to enable visitors to appreciate the different surroundings, to be extra welcoming of one another and to make sure no one feels lost or disoriented.  If we each play our part our community will remain strong and focussed.  We will certainly not lose heart.

This local application of the 2018 social justice theme will surely open our eyes to the wider community where safety, inclusiveness, fairness, welcome and compassion are even more desperately needed.

Fr James Lyons

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