Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 June 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Ngā Mihi Nui ki a koutou katoa
This is the time of the year when the Clergy of the diocese gather, diocesan clergy and religious order cler-gy, to celebrate with and honour those who have reached Ordination Jubilees. Yesterday we gathered for Mass and a luncheon to honour Fr Pat McCann SM who celebrated 65 years of ordination, Msgr John Carde, Father Pat Maloney, Fr Earl Crotty SM, (all 60 years), Fr John Craddock SM (50 years) and Bishop Paul Martin SM (25 years). We give thanks to God for those years of priestly service to the People of God in many different ways.

Over 40 priests had also gathered the day before for what we called a Mini Clergy Assembly. We spent the first part of the day reflecting on homilies, how we prepare them, what their content should be and how they should be delivered. Then the afternoon was devoted to looking at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and particularly the difference between Rite One and Rite Two. We had very helpful and valuable discussions on both topics with information shared from what Pope Francis has written about homilies, and what people of our parishes expect.

I shared with the priests something I had read back in 1980 which has had a huge influence on how I try to prepare and deliver homilies. It said this: “Most homilies today are “Try Harder” homilies. They simply tell people to do more, to give more, to pray more, to TRY HARDER. Moralising has replaced the Good News and does nothing to help people who are struggling with life….” Everyone one could see that we are incredibly privileged and that it is a huge responsibility to deliver homilies in such a way that they are relevant to parishioners’ life experiences and give them hope.

When reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation we shared and discussed our own experiences of the Sacrament and how we can make the best possible use of the Rites the Church has given us. Again, all were aware of the great privilege we have, and of how humbling and prayerful it can be for us to be Confessors. During the day I remembered something else I read many years ago and which has helped me, both in my own confession and as a Confessor. This was: “we are not permitted to nurse a sense of guilt, we must fully and completely accept and embrace his forgiveness and love. Guilt feelings and inferiority feelings before God are expression of selfishness and self- centeredness; we give more importance to our little sinful self than to his immense and never-ending love. We must surrender our guilt and inferiority to him; His good-ness is greater than our badness. We must accept his joy and living and forgiving us. It is a healing grace to surrender our sinfulness to His mercy.”
It is always God’s love and mercy we are proclaiming and celebrating.

Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki, e tiaki

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 14 June 2018

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Dear Friends,

A walk-through Portugal and Spain to the tomb of an apostle (St James) is obviously not possible for everyone. I am very aware that I am incredibly privileged to have been able to embark on this recent adventure. It was a walk filled with many blessings; many hours each day to pray and reflect, people from all over the world (I walked alone but met along the paths and in the evenings), beautiful and spectacular scenery, hot sunny days and fantastic food and wine.

However, it was a pilgrimage, and as I experienced eight years ago when I walked the French Camino, many of the experiences reflected the day to day challenges and experiences of life. Every day, as I started to walk I asked the assistance and company of the Saints I had chosen for my companions, Mary and Joseph, St Paul, St James (because of going to Sant Iago), St Anthony of Padua (born in Lisbon where I started the pilgrimage and whose Feast day was yesterday 13th June), St Catherine of Sienna and St Mary Mackillop. There were many times when I reflected on how much they all walked in their lives and what lessons I could learn from them.

There were two Scripture quotes I reflected on every day, “Remain in my love” (John 15:9) and “The Lord delights in his people” (Psalm 149:4). It was a blessing to be able to “remain” in God’s love and to know that God was enjoying this too.

Many times I sang (and I am not a singer) the Taize Magnificat and the hymn “Gentle as Silence.” It is such a simple hymn and has such profound words.

Oh, the love of my Lord is the essence of all that I love here on earth. All the beauty I see God has given to me, and the giving is gentle as silence.

Every day, every hour, every moment have been blessed by the strength of God’s love. At the turn of each tide God is there at my side, with a touch that is gentle as silence.

There’ve been times when I’ve turned from your presence, and I’ve walked other paths, other ways. But I’ve called on your name in the dark of my shame, and your mercy was gentle as silence.

Day after day I experienced the gentle generous giving of God – and thought of what we have been saying here in the Archdiocese in terms of Stewardship about receiving the gifts of God with gratitude and using them responsibly. I had the opportunity in the silence of my walking to discover anew that “every day, every hour, every moment” were blessed by the strength of God’s love.

I also knew I was accompanied by much love and prayer from people here at home. I thank you sincerely for that. The point of my pilgrimage was to pray for vocations, that intention was very much in my prayer every day. I ask that you continue to pray with me for vocations.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 17 May 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Greetings and all good wishes from Portugal. I have been on the road for 11 days now and have arrived at a small town called Mealhada, having now walked 284 kms.
I have been reminded again, as I was reminded when I walked the Camino eight years ago, that many people make pilgrimages and have done so for hundreds of years.
Pilgrimages are traditionally journeys to a holy place — a place where saints have walked, a place where God has met people and blessed them. For Catholics it may be
Jerusalem, Rome, Fatima, Compostella; there are of course also many pilgrimage sites for people of other faiths. People through the ages have journeyed with God
on pilgrimage — to perform a penance, to ask for healing, to pray for places where there is war or national disaster, to pray for friends, or as I am doing to pray for vocations.
Pilgrimages are opportunities to travel lightly, to walk free of daily routines, to meet people, to make friends, to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation. An opportunity, too, in the
travelling, the conversations and the silences to reflect on the journey of our lives and on our journey homewards to God. This is proving to be a kind of retreat for me, and I
am getting good exercise at the same time; it is wonderfully relaxing spiritually rewarding.

I have a number of prayers I pray each day, and many things I am recording in my Prayer Journal. I share one of the prayers with you with the prayer for you that it may
help you on your life’s pilgrimage.

God of the guiding star, the bush that blazes
Show me your WAY.
God of the stormy seas, the bread that nourishes
Teach me your TRUTH.
God of the still, small voice, the wind that blows where it chooses
Fill me with LIFE.
God of the elements, of our inward and outward journeys
Set my feet on your road today.
May God bless me with a safe journey,
May the angels and saints travel with me
May I live this day in justice and joy.

With every blessing
+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 3 May 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
Today we finish our meeting of the Bishops Confer-ence in Auckland and I fly out of New Zealand for five weeks.

As many of you know I walked the Camino eight years ago, leaving St Jen Pied de Port in France, up over the Pyrenees and on to Santiago de Compostella which I reached 30 days later and after almost 900 kilometres of walking. This is known as the “French Camino”.

On Sunday 6 May I will begin walking from Lisbon to Compostella, the same place as last time, but this time it will be the “Portuguese Camino”. In 2010 my intention as I walked, prayed and reflected on this ancient pilgrimage was to pray for vocations to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Wellington. I will be doing the same this time. You might like to join me in praying for Vocations as I walk to what is re-membered as the tomb of St James.

The Camino was a wonderful experience for me last time. I appreciated the time to walk and pray, to reflect and ponder as well as meeting many other pilgrims along the road and generally thinking about life’s pilgrimage. I am sure that these next few weeks will be just as blessed as last time. It was very much like a retreat last time, and there are images and mo-ments of discovery fixed very clearly and vividly in my mind, some of them are as clear and sharp—and just as important as images and discoveries I made on a 30 Day retreat over thirty years ago.

I will be carrying a little book with me entitled “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino.” For each day of the pilgrimage this guide book has much practical information, with a section called “The Practical Path” and another called “The Mystical Path”. One of the day’s Mystical Path reflections says this:

“Have you found the waymark that points you in the direction of our true Destination? Does it look famil-iar or are you left in doubt as to the right course to take? One thing is certain, it will only be found by following the wisdom of the heart. Everything we see with the physical eye is likely to lead as away from the mystical. We have become intoxicated with the things of this world and fallen into a deep stupor. We search for relics housed in stone buildings that mask the true home of spirit. We have forgotten the way Home …….”

There are many such reflections. I will have plenty of time to pray and ponder, to reflect and to give thanks. You will all be with me as I journey on pilgrimage to the tomb of St James.

With every blessing.

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 19 April 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Dear Friends
In his first major document “Evangelii Gaudium” Pope Francis told us that if we are to evangelize we must start by “renewing our personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” (EG 3) That was in 2013. Pope Francis has written another document called Gaudete et Exsultate, which is on the call to holiness in the world today. In this latest apostolic exhortation, he is telling us how to renew our personal encounter with Jesus.

As far back as 1975 Pope Paul VI wrote an apostolic exhortation called Evangelii Nuntiandi. In that he told us of the need to “deepen, consolidate and nourish” our faith and allow it to mature (EN 54). There is clearly a need for all of us to keep growing in faith, to deepen our under-standing, to come to a greater appreciation of what we believe.

Every one of us is obliged in some way to keep reading, to do some study, to change our ways of praying in order to grow in our relationship with God. In his exhortation Paul VI suggested that we seek the kingdom, build it up, live it and pro-claim it (EN 8/13). In this new document Pope Francis tells us that growing in personal holiness cannot be separated from building the Kingdom of God. Our Christian life, our choice to live as disciples of Jesus demands that we live and show in words and deeds what we claim to profess. We know that we are not all called to be teachers or preachers, but we need to be able to offer some reasons for the hope that is in us (c/f 1 Peter 3.15)

Last year we had the Archdiocesan Synod with the theme “Go You Are Sent.” It was very clear from the discernment and the sharing, before, during and after the Synod, that if we want to respond generously to the call and to be “sent out,” if we want to be serious about “mission effectiveness” then we need to grow in our understanding and appreciation of our faith. We need to be holy people. Pope Francis’ new letter will help us to do this, as it sets holiness in the context of daily life. He gives us “five great expressions” of love of God and neighbour that he considers particularly important. They are:

Perseverance, patience and meekness
Joy and a sense of humour
Boldness and passion
In community
In constant prayer

Please make an effort to read, study and pray with Gaudete et Exsultate. There is a link to this on the homepage of the Vatican website.

With every blessing.

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.