Category Archives: General

The Cathedral Connection 31 March 2019

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The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

 The parable of the Prodigal Son is probably the best known and best loved of all of Jesus’ stories. The younger son discovers that, in spite of his sins he is deeply loved and forgiven by his father. Gandhi experienced this when he was fifteen. He stole something from his brother. However, he felt so bad about it that he made up his mind to confess it to his father. He wrote out his sin on a piece of paper, asking for forgiveness and punishment, while promising to never steal again.

At the time his father was very sick and in bed. Gandhi handed him the note and sat by his father’s bedside waiting for judgment and punishment. His father sat up in bed and began to read the note. As he read it, tears came into his eyes. Gandhi himself began to cry. Instead of getting angry and punishing him, the father hugged the repentant son, and that was the end of the matter.

The experience of being loved while he was in sin had a profound effect on Gandhi. He said years later, ‘Only the person who has experienced this kind of love can know what it is.’

Those who experience this kind of love, know something about the heart of God and in the power of repentance and forgiveness. God never closes his heart to any of his children. No matter what they do, if they return to Him, the one thing they can be sure of is an unconditional and generous welcome.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 17 February 2019

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Blessings indeed

For the 1st few weeks of this year, the readings have been about ‘beginnings’ as Jesus begins his mission. That works in well for us, as we begin a new year.  After choosing his twelve apostles, Jesus teaches about the nature and demands of discipleship. We have to make a choice.

The 1st reading is from Jeremiah. It’s about choices also. God curses those who rely only on themselves, who think they can make it on their own steam. God blesses those who ‘put their trust in the Lord, with the Lord for their hope.’  We are either self-centred or other-centred. One is enriching, the other kills. Today’s psalm echoes that same theme of dependence on God, rather than oneself.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians get to the nub of the matter. It’s the resurrection that matters. As Paul said, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have died…” (1 Cor 15.19). In fact, as Jesus himself promised, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Lk 6.21.)

Luke’s beatitudes reading may seem strange to us, as most often we hear Mathew’s account.  Luke incorporates part of the material Matthew had included in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-12). Luke’s version is shorter. Unlike Matthew’s nine blessings and no woes, Luke has four each, set in parallels: poor-rich, hungry-full, weeping-laughing, and rejecting-accepted.

If we fail to pay enough attention to such words of blessing, perhaps it is because we are aware of the associated woes, “Woe to you who are rich, … who are full now.” Those bring God’s care for the poor into sharp relief. Or perhaps, childishly, we simply want to wish away realities like poverty, hunger, death.

Today, in our Cathedral parish, it is time to celebrate blessings, the blessings of Fr James’ 11 years in the parish. We do it through a special Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral, and a parish picnic afterwards in the grounds of Parliament. Thank you, Fr James, for all the blessings you have given this parish of the Sacred Heart.  We wish you many blessings in your retirement.

Fr Ron – Moderator, Cathedral Parish.

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The Cathedral Connection 3 February 2019

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MOVING AND CHANGING

This weekend we welcome Fr Doug Shepherd to our parish community as Assistant Priest.  Fr Doug was previously at St Benedict’s in Khandallah, within St Francis of Assisi Ohariu Parish. Fr Doug, we look forward to working with you and getting to know you.

We are also beginning, this weekend, the new arrangements for Sunday Masses. The Saturday evening Vigil Mass and the Choral Mass at 10.30am on Sunday will be celebrated in St Thomas More Church, Wilton, and the Sunday evening 7.00pm Mass in the Cathedral Chapel.

The Parish Pastoral Council and Liturgy Committees thought very carefully about this arrangement. As St Thomas More is designed for worship, we will no longer have to set up and pack down every weekend. Furthermore, music will be much better provided for. As well as thanking St Mary’s College, I should like to thank all our musicians for ’keeping things going’ while we were in the college hall. The Sunday evening Mass is the ‘last Mass of the weekend’ in Wellington city, and an important ministry; we hope the chapel will be a suitable place for this celebration.

As the notice inside this newsletter says, there are some transport arrangements offered for getting to St Thomas More. In addition, if anyone is experiencing difficulties with the new arrangements, please let the parish office know; we cannot assist if we do not know.

As a community, we can only wait patiently for the time when we will be able to return to a strengthened cathedral.  We might remember that Scripture often speaks of times of wandering, of times of exile, and of times of waiting – as well as the joy of returning.

Jim McAloon
Chair, Parish Pastoral Council

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The Cathedral Connection Christmas 2018 – January 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here and the insert can be viewed here.

Memories are made of…

Every experience creates a memory.  And the memory remains long after the experience.  Some memories bring joy, some are painful, some are entirely neutral.  This year, as in every year, our world, our Church and our parish have lived through numerous experiences; the memories are important leftovers.

Globally, the Church reeled from the revelations of the abuse of children and young adults by some of her priests and religious charged with their care.  The memory of this stains the Body of Christ, for when one member suffers, all suffer.  The year has brought strong condemnation of all forms of abuse, offering hope that this evil can be overcome and a new memory formed.

Locally, the Church learned that the Cathedral of the Archdiocese, our parish church, was unsafe and had to be closed.  The full effect of this was felt by our parishioners.  Shock and disappointment loom large as memories.  But there was also an awakening of affection for the parish, a determination to stay and work together to keep the parish intact.  Wonderful support from St Mary’s College and St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and our sister parish of Otari, made relocation an easy transition, creating memories of unity and togetherness, despite disruption and uncertainty.

Our first Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, left us in March and memories of her short but highly valued service coloured our concern about how we would manage.  The appointment of Debbie Matheson came at the right time, steading nerves and helping us confidently adapt to our new circumstances.

The year led me closer to retirement from active pastoral ministry and triggered memories of my 11 years with you.  I have met nothing but kindness.  Your homes and your hearts have been open to me and, when I depart in March, I will carry memories of affection and acceptance that will ease the moment of our separation.

Christmas carries the memory of a love so profound that there was no room for its birth.  This shouldn’t surprise, because even our own human love cannot be contained but must be poured out and shared.  The gift of Jesus is God’s Christmas present to the world every day.  Open up this gift in your own life.  Enjoy the experience of being wanted and loved for yourself and create memories of joy and gladness that will carry you through 2019.

A truly blessed Christmas, everyone.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here and the insert can be viewed here.