Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 February 2020

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

Last Saturday, 22nd February, was the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, a feast once described by Pope John Paul II as “shedding light on the special ministry of Peter strengthening and guiding the Church in the unity of faith which the Lord entrusted to the head of the Apostles.” he went on to say that this mystery of unity comes from “Fixing our gaze on Christ.”

The Lenten journey we have begun is all about “fixing our gaze on Christ.”

Lent is a time to hear again the call of Jesus to “repent and believe the good news.” The call to personal conversion is at the heart of the message of Jesus and is clearly at the heart of the ministry of Pope Francis. The Pope is very clear about the fact that ALL of us are constantly called to conversion of heart. In his first year as Pope, on the Feast of St Ignatius Loyola, he said in a homily: “The question ‘is Christ the centre of my life?’ is for us, for any of us, the ques-tion that cannot be taken for granted. It cannot be taken for granted because there is always the temptation to think that we are the centre; and when we put ourselves and not Christ at the centre, we err, we go astray”.

I think that sometimes the temptation for us is also to think that the call to personal conversion, to “fix our gaze on Christ” is for others and not for me. In this time of Lent when we are invited to pay closer attention to the Word of God, we know that is so we can personally focus on our relationship with Jesus, and not on all the other things that worry, distract or preoccupy us.

One of the strategies of Pope Francis in his work to reform the Church, and especially the Roman Curia (which was asked for in the Cardinals’ meetings leading up to his election) is to keep emphasising that this is always about per-sonal conversion. It is about a change of heart, putting Jesus at the centre of life and fixing our gaze on him. When Jesus is at the centre and the focus of our lives the relationships that we have with others improve, the things that worry us fall into place – even things like the question of Mass times, what will happen with “MY” parish, and how to cope with the many questions we are faced with today seems to fall into place.

The questions for Lent therefore are:

  • How do I keep my gaze fixed on Jesus?
  • How do I make Jesus the centre of my life?
  • How do I focus on Jesus in the days ahead?

Naku Noa,

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 30 January 2020

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I celebrated Mass for the Focolare Community, 350 Focolare members from all over Oceania had gathered at El Rancho for their Mariapolis for five days. It was a wonderful day to reflect of our Baptism and on our call to be “Mission.”

This year throughout the diocese I hope that we can all reflect on what our Baptism means and that it calls us to become more and more aware of the fact that we are all charged and privileged to be Missionaries. Remember these words of Jesus addressed to all of us: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Fa-ther and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28: 19). We will never do that unless we are deeply aware that our Baptism makes us “beloved daughters and sons of God.” At his Baptism “all the love” of the Father rested on Jesus. “all the love” of God rests on us, His beloved sons and daughters.

Just as God’s favour rests on us, our response is to rest in the intimacy of God and to know that God loves us beyond meas-ure. That fact should influence all we do in our families, schools, colleges and parish communities. When we are aware of how much God loves us it then affects the way we relate to others and the way we think about what we can do in our com-munities. We live for other, become more aware of their needs and not just our own; we think of the wider Church and the needs of the whole parish and diocese and not just our own community.

This year, reflect on what your Baptism has done for you, keep your eyes on God who loves you, just as God cannot help but keep eyes on us, smiling and loving us without measure. This year choose to be marinated, intoxicated in the fullness of God.
With every blessing for 2020.

Naku Noa,
+John

What’s Happening

Prayers:
Fr Pat Greally died 3 January 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Please remember Pat and his family in prayer at this time.
Fr Fergus Reeves is suffering ill health at the moment. Please remember Fergus in your prayers at this time.
We congratulate Bishop-elect Michael Gielen on his appointment to Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland. His episcopal ordination will be Saturday 7 March. Please remember Michael in prayer at this time.

Date Savers:

Feb 2020
6 Waitangi Day Mass – 9am St Mary of the Angels. Nau mai, haere mai.
11 Ministry Formation Day – Sts Peter and Paul Lower Hutt, “Liturgy with Children” presenters Fr James Lyons, Patrick Bridgman and Michael Mangan (Teacher and Music Liturgist)
14 Valentine’s Day Mass – St Joseph’s Church Mt Victoria 7.00pm
21 Teachers Commissioning Mass – (South Island) Garin College 5.30pm
25 Teachers Commissioning Mass – (North Island) Sacred Heart Petone, 5.30pm
27 Marriage Enrichment Evening – check your parish noticeboard rsvp marriage@wn.catholic.org.nz

March 2020
Mission Expo – More details to come
14 Bishop Viard College, Porirua 10am – 4pm
21 Garin College, Nelson 10am — 4pm

April 2020
Chrism Mass
7 South Island – venue to be advised
8 North Island – St Teresa’ Pro-Cathedral, Karori

May 2020
20 – 24 Clergy Assembly – Tatum Park

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 12 December 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

When my sisters and I were young and growing up in Waipukurau, we, like most families decorated a Christmas tree. We used to go out with Dad and find a pine branch somewhere and that became our Christmas tree. We also had a beautiful Nativity set prepared in the fireplace every year. A friend of Dad’s painted a scene of Bethlehem on a heavy kind of cardboard. That became the background as it was fitted into the back of the fireplace every year to help set the scene. Many of us will have such memories of preparing Nativity scenes to help us to reflect on the wonder and joy of Christmas.

Pope Francis has just a few days ago written a letter on the meaning and the importance of the Nativity scene. The letter was given from Greccio, the place in Italy where Francis of Assisi in 1224, replicated the manger scene and helped people to prayerfully contemplate the mystery of “God among us.”. Today, in Greccio, one can still see the stone on which the hay was placed, and where the image of the baby was laid. There were no figures of Joseph and Mary, just the baby and two animals.

In his letter Pope Francs says this “The enchanting image of the Christmas crèche, so dear to the Christian people, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.”

The Pope also encourages families to pick up this tradition once again of preparing a Nativity scene “in our homes, workplaces, schools’ hospitals, prisons and town squares.”

We will see many cribs over the next couple of weeks. Will they be an opportunity for prayer and reflection for us, will we stop in awe and give thanks that “a child is born to us, a son is given to us” (Isaiah 9:5-6)?

Please think of Pope Francis words to us this Christmas: “Dear brothers and sisters, the Christmas crèche is part of the precious yet demanding process of passing on the faith. Beginning in childhood, and at every stage of our lives, it teaches us to contemplate Jesus, to experience God’s love for us, to feel and believe that God is with us and that we are with him, his children, brothers and sisters all, thanks to that Child who is the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. And to realize that in that knowledge we find true happiness. Like Saint Francis, may we open our hearts to this simple grace, so that from our wonderment a humble prayer may arise: a prayer of thanksgiving to God, who wished to share with us his all, and thus never to leave us alone.”

With every blessing for Christmas

Naku noa
+John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 28 November 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

For 164 years the Church of Wellington has every year consecrated the Archdiocese to Our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception. On 23 January 1855 Wellington experienced a disastrous earthquake, later studies estimated that it was over eight on the Richter scale. Overall the damage was severe and extensive, however there was only one death recorded. Aftershocks were intense for many months and people became very uneasy and many quit the new settlement for good. In a Pastoral Letter in Lent of that year Bishop Viard urged that special prayers be said “to ask God through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the protectress and patroness of this diocese, for the cessation of the earthquakes that afflict us”. Those prayers were said for the rest of that year and then on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Bishop Viard formally consecrated the Diocese to Mary under the tile of the Immaculate Conception. Just one year before that Pope Pius IX had proclaimed the Immaculate Conception to be an integral part of formal Catholic teaching.

What does this Feast mean for us today? It reminds us that God chose Mary to be our model of holiness (Preface for the Mass), and to be the perfect Mother of Jesus. When Mary was conceived God was already preparing the world for the birth of his son. Mary’s goodness, Mary’s inner perfection, makes her closer to us than anyone else…because she is “full of grace” – that grace through her unites and heals. Grace does that, but sin divides. God began the work of salvation in Mary, and this makes Mary, in a new and special way “the mother of all the living.”
It is right than that we continue to consecrate our Diocese to her, she who is “the mother of all the living.”

Mary full of grace, pray for us.

With thanks and every blessing

Naku noa
+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The prayer consecrating the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Conception is available here.