Category Archives: General

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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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

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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

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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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