Category Archives: Cardinal John’s News

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 September 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

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.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 16 August 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

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


The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 2 August 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

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)


The full newsletter can be viewed here.