Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 16 August 2018

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Tēnā koutou katoa e hoa ma

Tomorrow I fly out on my way to Dublin to participate in the World Meeting of Families, and feel very privileged to be able to do so. This is an event held every three years to provide inspiration for families to live the Gospel in daily life, with all its challenges and difficulties, its joys, hopes and sorrows. It is also a time to celebrate and give thanks for family life.

The overall theme for this year’s gathering is “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” The week will consist of a three day Congress with the themes for each day being “The Family and Faith,” “The Family and Love,” and “The Family and Hope.” The following days will be spent with Pope Francis cele-brating the Festival of Families on the Saturday and then the Final Mass on Sunday.

I am telling you this because I am also asking for your prayers for the success of this event where families gather from all over the world. Much of the infor-mation shared will be based on “Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love” of Pope Francis. This is a wonderful document in which the Holy Father encourages us to accompany families in the many different and sometimes very difficult situ-ations they find themselves in. He asks us not to judge others but to recognise that “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed.” (A L 325) Sadly, this is a document which is not fully understood, yet all Pope Francis is at-tempting to do is to encourage and support families.

Prayers are needed for this event and for the Holy Father. Perhaps you would like to pray the official Family Prayer for the World Meeting of Families for 2018

God, our Father,
We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son,
One family, in the Spirit of your love.
Bless us with the joy of love.

Make us patient and kind,
gentle and generous,
welcoming to those in need.
Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.
Protect all families with your loving care,
Especially those for whom we now pray:

[We pause and remember family members and others by name].

Increase our faith, Strengthen our hope, Keep us safe in your love, make us always grateful for the gift of life that we share.

This we ask, through Christ our Lord, Amen

With all good wishes and every blessing Kia tau ngā manaakitanga o te Ariki ki runga i

+John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 2 August 2018

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Tēnā koutou katoa e hoa ma

Two days ago, I attended the AGM of the New Zealand Bible Society. I continue to be amazed with the work of the Bible Society whose mission is to “help make the Bible accessible to everyone and encourage interaction with it.” For example, in the last 12 months in New Zealand 4, 274 Bibles; 50, 649 Scripture passages in various forms; as well as 1,421 Bibles, New Testaments and resources were given away to people in hospital and 2, 439 Bibles and New Testaments given away in New Zealand Prisons.

On Sunday 22nd July in his Angelus Address Pope Francis began by saying “the first bread that Jesus offers the hungry and lost crowd is the bread of the Word.” The Pope was referring to the Gospel of the day (Mark 6:30-34). After their first mission, the Apostles returned to Jesus and told him “all that they had done and taught” (v30). It would have been exciting time for them, but it was also tiring, they needed rest. Jesus, full of understanding, is concerned about giving them some relief and says: “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while” (v. 31). However, the plans Jesus had were thwarted and couldn’t be realized because the crowd, guessing where He would have gone with his disciples, got there before Jesus did.

The same thing can happen to us today. Sometimes we don’t succeed in carrying out our projects because unforeseen events upset our plans and require of us flexibility and availability to the needs of others.

We are then called to imitate what Jesus did: “As He landed He saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (v. 34). Pope Francis said we can sum up Jesus’ actions with three verbs to see, to have compassion, to teach. It’s what we do as followers of Jesus, it’s also what the Bible Society does. I am impressed and very grateful for what they do.

We see a need in those who are hungering for something more…for God’s Word. We have compassion, and look for ways to provide that food, and, we teach.

Jesus was moved when he saw all those people in need of guidance and help. We may have expected a miracle. Instead, Jesus began to teach them many things. He offered a hungry and lost crowd the bread of the Word. All human beings need the word of truth, which guides us and illumines the way. Without the truth, which is Christ himself, it’s not possible to find the right direction of life.

May the word of God touch the depths of our hearts in such a way that we too may have compassion, look for ways to provide the hungry and the lost the bread of God’s word and teach them the Word of Truth.

Kia tau ngā manaakitanga o te Ariki ki runga i (ā koe, a kōrua, a koutou)

+John

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 June 2018

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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.