Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 8 November 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

In a few days time, Sunday18th November) the world will observe the World Day of the Poor. This is the second year Pope Francis has asked us to be aware of the poor and to reach out in a special way to make their lives a little better and to help them live with dignity. The Archdiocese of Wellington is one of twelve dioceses throughout the world which has been asked to do something special. I am very grateful that so many people have supported this and have arranged a number of events and ways to reach out and assist. We are all invited of course to find opportunities for encounter, dialogue and practical assistance for people on the margins.

Some of the activities arranged for this day include:

• Mass for the World Day of the Poor: Sunday 18 November 10.30am, St Michael’s, Taita. This is also the tercentenary Mass for Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters.
• Better off together – He waka eke noa gathering: Saturday 17 November 10.00am-5.00pm, organized by Challenge 2000, including presenters and workshops on a range of social justice issues, Bishop Viard College, Porirua.
• St Vincent de Paul pop-up free stores on Saturday 17 November 10am—4pm Newtown, 230 Riddiford St; Petone, Sacred Heart Hall, 33 Britannia St; Stokes Valley, 3 Scott Court, Wainuiomata
There will also be a free pop-up store in Porirua on Monday 19 November in Mungavin Hall, 10am—2.30pm.
• The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Board of Administration, Council of Priests, Te Kahu o Te Rangi and Archdiocesan Directors will hold their annual meeting at the Compassion Soup Kitchen on 17th to enable us all to reflect on what we do for the poor and also how we respond to the Letter of Pope Francis written to the People of God.
• Parishes and communities have been invited to sponsor a meal at the Compassion Centre soup kitchen in the week before the World Day of the Poor (or at any time throughout the year). Contact Karen Holland at the soup kitchen 04 385 9299 if you would like to do this.
• The Archdiocesan EJP Commission will hold a social analysis and reflection day considering the experienc-es of participants in the 2016 and 2017 Benefit Impacts.
• On the second anniversary of the Kaikoura earthquake fruitcakes will be delivered to Kaikōura as an act of solidarity and support for the people there.
• St Joseph’s, Upper Hutt are organizing meat-packs for distribution to low-income families, and benefit ad-vice will be provided. (16th November).

The above are some of the activities arranged for this World Day of the Poor. Full details can be found on The rest is up to us.
Earlier this year Pope Francis wrote that amazing document “Gaudete et Exsultate.” In that document he told us that the Beatitudes are “like a Christian’s identity card” and that “in the Beatitudes we find a portrait of the Mas-ter, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives” (GeE 63)
In the days ahead we pray and ponder on how we can reflect the face of the Master to the poor who surround us. How do we share in the life of those most in need, how do we configure ourselves to Jesus who, though rich, “made himself poor.” (2 Cor 8:9)?

Naku noa. Na + Hoane

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 11 October 2018

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

We are living in an unprecedented time in the history of the Church. There are major challenges for anyone in leadership today, from Pope Francis to anyone who leads in the Church in any way. There appears to be a culture around the world where everyone is expected to be perfect and to never have made a mistake. I fully acknowledge that all leaders are to be accountable to the people they serve, and that there should always be openness and transparency. The Church has not been good at that and we need to make great improvements.

Our lives are also to be lived realistically, and the reality of human life is that nobody is perfect, and very clearly neither is the Church. As Cardinal Williams said back in the late 1980s, and has been quoted many many times – “I have to be a realist like yourselves and accept that the most telling image of the Church is an untidy caravan struggling across the desert, not a regiment of infantry marching in perfect step across an im-maculate parade ground. We are, after all, the People of God, and people are imperfect and contradictory. To know it we have only to look at ourselves.”

We, the People of God, are imperfect and contradictory. That is why we have faith communities where we try to help support one another, where we talk together and listen to one another, where we try to create close and warm relationships, and hold one another in a network of solidarity and belonging. Our parish, college and school communities and our faith or-ganizations are called to support everyone and find ways to encourage one another on life’s journey.

Internationally the Church has some major challenges, every diocese has challenges and must look to new ways to be Church today. That can really only start with every one of us as individuals, deciding each day to do our best, seeking out others who need love and care, forgiving others when that is called for rather than dismissing and casting aside someone who has made a mistake. One of the questions I like to ask myself at the end of each day, and I find it very helpful, so I share it with you is: “Have I been a good memory in some-one‘s life today?” I wonder if we all honestly asked a question something like that if it would be a step in making our Church and our world a better place and a little more Christlike.

With prayers and blessings

Naku noa. Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 September 2018

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E te iwi whakapono, te na koutou, te na ta tou katoa,

Every Diocese and Archdiocese must have a “Mother Church,” a Cathedral Church, which is the official seat of the Bishop or Archbishop. As people are aware, the very word “Cathedral” comes from the Latin word, “cathedra,” which means “chair.” The Bishop’s Chair is a symbol of his teaching office and pastoral authority in the Diocese and is also intended to be a sign of the unity of believers in the faith that the Bishop proclaims as the one appointed as the shepherd of the People of God. Wherever the Bishop locates his chair becomes the most important Church in the Archdiocese.

If a Cathedral is under construction, or is being renovated, repaired or seismically strengthened (as is our situation), then the Bishop usually proclaims another Church to be the pro-Cathedral of the diocese for a period of time.

Last week I consulted the Archdiocesan Council of Priests about the possibility of a pro-Cathedral. I had considered a few options and thinking of space and the opportunity for car parking for Archdioce-san occasions, I asked the Council of Priests if they would agree with me naming the parish church of St Teresa’s, Karori, as the pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese. The Council agreed with this, and Fr Ron Bennett, the Parish Priest of Otari Parish also readily agreed with this request. Therefore, I will be naming St Teresa’s Church as the pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese. I am now at a meeting in Rome. When I return, there will be an appropriate ceremony to install my “cathedra” in St Teresa’s, and the Church will then be used for Archdiocesan ceremonies.

Our Cathedral Church can make us more aware of our unity, and of God’s presence in our everyday lives. That awareness, together with hearing God’s transforming Word, has the power to truly change our lives and send us forth to live out that Word. Our Cathedral Church is a visible reminder of what it means for us as a people to be built up, stone by stone, into that spiritual house, the living temple of the Lord.

A Cathedral achieves its purpose when the mystery of the Church is fully lived out in the gathering of God’s People, and in the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacramental life of the Church. Every Eucharist is both a gathering and a sending, and both are only possi-ble by the prior action of God.

We thought a great deal last year about the words “Go, you are sent.” Our going out of our Cathedral, or any of our churches, is as important as going into it to pray. As we journey out from the Cathedral, having heard the words “The Mass is ended, go in peace,” we are sent forth to be a leaven and a light to the people around us. The Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, impels us, doing more in and through us than we could ever ask or imagine.

Kia tau ngā manaakitanga o te Ariki ki runga i a koutou


The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 13 September 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou,

“Haere tukuna,” (“Go you are sent!”) These words were very familiar to us this time last year, my hope is that they are still ringing in the ears of everyone in the diocese. This year marks one year since the 2017 Synod. In the year since I promulgat-ed the directions and priorities of the 2017 Archdiocesan Synod there has been great progress in implementing its outcomes, both by the Archdiocese and by parishes.

I welcome messages from parishes about what they are doing and their plans. It would be great to be able to share these sto-ries with one another, and I will find ways to do this.

The various Archdiocesan services which provide support for parishes have each agreed to take on certain Synod outcomes which are relevant to their work. The Council of Priests has also been overseeing various Synod-related projects, and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council has been providing advice on specific Synod outcomes at each of its meetings. These are some of the things have happened or are in progress:

  • A formation programme for a Spirituality of Service has been developed and sent to parishes and other interested groups;
  • The priests of the Archdiocese have had a Mini Clergy Assembly to look at how to improve homilies and deepen their ministry in the Sacrament of Reconciliation;
  • Gift discernment sessions have been provided for several parishes who felt they were ready for this opportunity;
  • The Launch Out Programme has been reviewed to determine if it is achieving what it was set up to do, and whether it has a wider formation role, and I am about to begin considering its outcomes;
  • A policy to ensure continuity in practice and lay leadership when there is a change in the parish priest has been sent to parishes to use as a trial when there is a change not just in parish priest but in any member of the Pastoral Team;
  • A social media strategy for encouraging vocations to the diocesan priesthood is being worked on;
  • Terms of Reference have been written for reviewing the Landing the Waka programme (the induction programme for international priests and for the review the place and scope of ethnic chaplaincies in the Archdiocese;
  • The first Mass for the separated and divorced was held recently, and a new programme to address their needs is being developed;
  • Work has just begun on developing a new Archdiocesan website and social media which will fill the role of a “hub of connectedness” for the purposes of building community through telling stories (personal and collective), sharing re-sources, linking to apps, disseminating information, sharing best practice and ways of getting involved.
  • I am aware that some people think that not much has changed. However, I believe we have much to be grateful for. There is, of course still a long way to go, but all growth and progress takes time and as always we rely on and trust in the grace of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. One year on from the Synod I wish to thank everyone for the great partici-pation in the Mission of the Church, and the willingness to be involved and give generously of your time, talents and treasures.

Thank you very much for all that you do.

Nāku noa, nā + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 30 August 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends
It is Sunday evening in Dublin (26th August).

Pope Francis left here just a couple of hours ago after what seemed to be a very hectic two days for him. The people gathered for the World Meeting of Families loved his presence in the city, and especially at the Festival of Fami-lies in Croke Park last night – 82,000 of them; with much song and dance, family testimonies and wonderful practical words of wisdom from the Holy Father. About half a million gathered at Phoenix Park today for Mass. It was wet and cold, but that did not stop people giving the Pope a very warm welcome. Overall I have found the week of the World Meeting of Families to be a very positive experience, and despite the difficulties and challenges the Church is facing, people are resilient and full of hope.

At the conclusion of Mass this afternoon, Pope Francis met with the Irish Bish-ops. He said to them, quoting St John of the Cross, “It is in the dark night that the light of faith shines purest in our hearts. And that light will show the way to the renewal of Christian life in Ireland in the years ahead.” Remember, this was a day when the Pope himself had been accused of cover up and his resignation was called for. He too knows what “dark nights” are. I had met him just a few moments before this, he looked very tired and his words were, as they always are “pray for me.” I assured him that the people of New Zealand do pray for him, so please do that; not just when his name is mentioned at Mass but in other ways too.

Pope Francis went on to encourage the Bishops of Ireland. His words are worth reflecting on, because he really appreciates all that any of us do. He said, “So my word to you this evening is one of encouragement in these chal-lenging times, so, persevere in your ministry as heralds of the Gospel and shepherds of Christ’s flock. In a particular way, I am grateful for the concern you continue to show to the poor, the excluded and those in need of a help-ing hand….”. The Pope thanks and encourages you too.

By the time you receive this newsletter I will have gone from Dublin to present talks in two dioceses. Please pray for me too.

I conclude with the first of the Prayers of the Faithful that was prayed at the Papal Mass today. “We pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and all shep-herds of souls. May they help us to look upon our loved ones as God does, and recognise in them the image of Christ our brother.”

With every blessing


Interesting fact – In the 36 hours Pope Francis was in Ireland he gave seven major speeches and three homilies.
He certainly needs our prayers.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.