Category Archives: General

The Cathedral Connection 2 December 2018

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On Jordan’s Bank

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, in which we begin our spiritual preparation for Christmas.  We will be invited in the next weeks to reflect and pray, and to give as we might to those in material need.

One of the features of the Advent Gospel readings is a focus on John the Baptist. He features in all four Gospels – the three ‘synoptic’ gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so-called because they are identifiably similar in much of their material – and the rather different Gospel of John.  In all the gospels he is presented as the forerunner of Jesus, a witness to what is to come. He is also the subject of that beautiful English hymn, ‘On Jordan’s Bank’.

Like the older prophets of Israel, John preached both warning and reconciliation. He warned his listeners that they were not to rely on their status as children of Abraham; that what we do and how we treat others is what matters, and is how we are to be reconciled with each other and with God.

When the people asked him ‘what should we do?’ his message was simple. Be honest with yourselves and change what needs changing.  Turn away from greed, selfishness and abusive relationships.  Share your goods with those in need, and live in peace with each other.  Then, reconciliation will begin.

Simple advice, but I don’t find it easy to follow. In reflecting on Luke’s account of John the Baptist I am reminded of Pope Francis writing this year in ‘Rejoice and Be Glad’ that the call to holiness is for all of us, where we are, in our ordinary lives. During Advent we might reflect on the ways in which our hearts need to change, and where we need to be reconciled.

Jim McAloon, chair, Parish Pastoral Council

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Cardinal John’s News 25 October 2018

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

A few days ago, a woman was telling a group of us about a course she was on with several other people, including a couple from France. As they were talking, the French couple said that they were Catholic, and this woman’s husband then said, “My wife is Catholic.” At which one of the French visitors asked the question, “Are you an ACTIVE Catholic?”

This story was told to us because, as this woman said, most people would say “Are you a practising Catholic”’ She was intrigued to have been asked “Are you an ACTIVE Catholic?” I too find it a very interesting question, and it is very much about what we talk about when reflecting on “Stewardship – A Disciple’s Response.”

Stewardship, as we have been talking about in the diocese for several years now, is about us trying to help one anoth-er to live our faith in daily life. It is about being ACTIVE as women and men who have been gifted by God in so many ways. Using this adjective ACTIVE has really made me think. I guess we could say sometimes that people are practising Catholics but are they really ACTIVE? They might go to Mass on Sundays, but are they ACTIVE?

As Catholics we are called to:

• live our faith,
• care for the poor,
• reach out to neighbours who are struggling,
• pray and talk about what the Gospel means.

This might mean doing things such as finding homes and giving support to refugees, helping a former prisoner to re-habilitate into society, paying school fees for a family who cannot afford it. There are endless ways we can be active and live out our faith.

When thinking about how we respond daily, in the ordinary everyday situations of life it might be helpful to ask our-selves how we are choosing to respond to people and events as a disciple of Jesus. Remember that a disciple is al-ways a “learner,” we are always learning what it means to respond as a disciple. The great advantage that we have is that we do this together, we belong to a community of faith, or possibly several communities, where our faith is sup-ported. Our belonging enables us to support one another as we learn to be ACTIVE.

Practising is an unusual way to describe ourselves as Catholic. I would much rather be described as ACTIVE.

With prayers and blessings

Naku noa. Na
+ Hoane

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The Cathedral Connection 16 September 2018

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Dear Parishioners,

Nearly 200 priests from around New  Zealand met in Christchurch this week reflecting on what it means to be a priest today in a time of unprecedented change.  It has been a dramatic and challenging few days.

Canadian priest, James Mallon, asked the question, “If your church closed tomorrow would anyone who doesn’t go care?”  He then reminded us that international companies, such as Kodak and Swiss Watches went out of business because they didn’t read the signs of the times and change.  The last 20 years have seen incredible change in all aspects of society, demanding new models of ministry for the church and new ways of engaging with an increasingly secular world.  We have to understand that the ”Christian world” no longer exists!

Bishop Vincent Long, a former Vietnamese refugee now Bishop of Parramatta Diocese, NSW, echoed this when he said the Church must return to the “raw canvas” of the Gospel and follow more closely the way of Jesus – the way being modelled by Pope Francis – humility, trust and courage.  Clericalism has betrayed the Gospel!  The priest can no longer act as though the people didn’t count or had nothing to offer. “We must not see ourselves as being ‘apart from’ the people, but being ‘a part of’ them!

Over the next weeks I will be inviting you to reflect with me on these wonderful presentations, and to look with honesty at how we each regard our place in the community and what God in Jesus might be calling us to become.  What really has to change, to enable survival?  If the Church as we have known it has to die, what will be its legacy, and what will remain of the old to give life to the new?

Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 2 September 2018

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 Last Tuesday our school held a special Fathers’ Day liturgy.  With prayer, poetry and song, each class celebrated the gift of fatherhood, respectfully honouring all Dad’s for their love, care, guidance, encouragement and wisdom.  Dads who had died with remembered, with love and thanksgiving, as were those “separated from families because of work or other reasons”.

A poem, What Makes A Dad, read by one of the students, pays tribute to the vocation of fatherhood and is reprinted here as a way of saying Thank you and God Bless to all who contribute to and honour life:

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need.
Then God combined these qualities
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew his masterpiece was complete
And simply called it DAD!

Fr James

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