Tag Archives: Archdiocese

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 9 July 2019

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Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

This is a difficult time in our history to be asking people to think about vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Church throughout the world and continue to do so. It is hard to talk to young men about the possibility of priesthood when they hear so much about how so many have been abused and betrayed by those they should have been able to trust.

However, the call to priesthood must be talked about. It is still a rewarding and very satisfying life. It is a life of service and brings with it the incredible privilege of walking alongside others in all aspects of their lives. It gives those of us who are priests the chance to try to be the presence of Christ to others ….. and that is a privilege and a blessing that I cannot put into words. Even in the midst of a Church in disarray and disappointment the call to priesthood is obviously still there.

Vocations Awareness Week will be observed from 4th – 11th August throughout New Zealand. Will that week be any different for us from any other week of the year? Will our parishes, schools and colleges do something special to encourage teenagers and young adults to think about the possibility of priesthood and religious life? Will parents mention it as a possibility to their sons and daughters. Do the priests who read this newsletter regularly ask young men if they have thought about priesthood as a possibility?

A few months ago we formed an Archdiocesan Vocations Committee who are now working with Father David Dowling. This group of generous people, consisting of three women and two priests, is looking at ways to raise the profile of priestly vocations in the Archdiocese. In particular they will explore the promotion of vocations among young people, and assist in accompanying those who are considering priesthood.

Please pray in support of the work of the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee, and please reflect on how you could invite suitable young men to consider priesthood.

With thanks and every blessing.
Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 27 June 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

This evening at St Joseph’s Mt Victoria a Mass will be celebrated to give thanks for 50 years of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, (the Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development). In December 1965, Pope Paul VI promulgated the document, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World known as Gaudium et Spes. The very first sentence of that document said, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men (and women) and this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the followers of Christ.” The Bishops of the time established the Committee for Catholic Overseas Aid, and Caritas grew out of that.

Today we give thanks for the amazing work Caritas has done over the past 50 years. It is also the chance to reflect on the challenge which belongs to all of us to reach out to the poor and underprivileged. It could be easy to think that Caritas is doing all the work and the rest of us don’t need to do anything. Pope Francis reminded those gathered in Rome for the Caritas Internationalis Meeting a few weeks ago; “For one who wants to follow the path of charity, humility and listening, it means turning an ear to the small ones.” Francis said. “In the world, those who have more speak more, but among us it cannot be that way because God loves to reveal himself through those who are small and last.” He is inviting all of us to listen to and care for “the small ones,” those who struggle in life.

It is important to remember that Catholic responses to poverty and injustice didn’t start 50 years ago with the work of Caritas, AND it does not end with Caritas, it is part of OUR mission. The Church’s mission of caring for the poor and working for justice is part of who we are, and is founded on:

  • The teaching and example of Jesus, who sought out the company of his society’s outcasts, who fed the hungry and healed the sick, and who identifies totally with the poor in saying, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”
  • The Old Testament’s law and tradition which challenge us to make allocations from the harvest for the poor, (how do we apply that in 2019?) to care for widows and or-phans, to welcome the stranger, to ensure that workers are treated justly, the sustainable use of the earth.
  • There are the challenges of the Prophets who denounced injustice and called people back to being in right relation-ship with God and with each other.
  • We look too at the traditions and example of the early church, in their attempt to start a radical community in which no one was excluded, in which those who shared the Eucharist also shared their bread and their homes. (Acts 2: 42-47)
  • Saints and holy people throughout the history of the church, such as St Francis of Assisi who continues to provide a vivid example of listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
  • There are also the formal teachings of the Church, especial-ly those documents identified as Catholic Social Teaching, that rich treasure trove of teaching in which our moral teaching is applied to political and social questions.

Please continue to pray for the work of Caritas and reflect on how each of us can make it our mission too.

Every blessing
Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 13 June 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

Later this year, in the month of October, Pope Francis has asked the world to embark on “An Extraordinary Missionary Month”. He has done this because it will be one hundred years since Pope Benedict XV wrote the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud about being missionaries. Pope Francis has highlighted again in his first major document Evangelii Gaudium that we are ALL called to be “Missionary Disciples.” The very first sentence of the document of almost 6 years ago says, “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” (EG 1).

Pope Francis went on to say in the next paragraph; “Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too.” (EG 2)

If we are called to be Missionary Disciples every day, and every hour of the day, and if we are to embark on a new chapter of evangelisation which is marked by joy, and if we are to help others find ever-lasting joy in Christ, then regular prayerful reflection will help us.

One of the ways to keep us joyful and to ensure that our interior life does not become caught up with our own interests and concerns, and we no longer hear God’s voice because we are so focussed on ourselves, is to reflect prayerfully every day. Many people choose to use a nightly reflection known as The Examen.

It is a simple, powerful and effective time of prayer and reflection.

  • Review the day with gratitude
  • Take note of the joys and delights of the day
  • Focus on the gifts of God’s grace
  • Also acknowledge the failures and self-disappointments
  • Look forward to tomorrow and ask for light and guidance for the day ahead.

If we are to be Missionary Disciples we clearly need to en-counter the Joy of the Gospels for yourselves before reaching out to others. This kind of prayer – the Examen – will help us to encounter Jesus, to be in relationship with him, to walk with him and talk with him.
When Pope Benedict XV wrote Maximum Illud one hundred years ago he wrote of “the proclamation and the love of Jesus, spread by holiness of one’s life and good works.” Our holiness of life and our good works become more effective when we pray and reflect every day about how we are living out our Baptism and Confirmation. The Examen is a wonderful help. I wish you joyful reflections.

Every blessing

Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 30 May 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,
Only a few weeks after he was elected Pope Francis wrote Evangelii Gaudium. If you want to know what Pope Francis asks of the Church and what his plan for the Church is then read this document. It is really his plan for the future.

In Evangelii Gaudium he writes: “Each particular Church, as a portion of the Catholic Church under the leadership of its bishop, is likewise called to missionary conversion…It’s (the Church’s) joy in communicating Jesus Christ is expressed both by a concern to preach him to areas in greater need and in constantly going forth to the outskirts of its own territory or towards new sociocultural settings. Wherever the need for the light and the life of the Risen Christ is greatest, it will want to be there”. (EG 30)

Do we ever think about the fact that we are called to missionary conversion? Do we think about going to the out-skirts, to new settings, to the edges in order to make a difference by living the Gospel? The Pope’s whole focus is on evangelisation; is it our focus too? Are we doing what we can to share the Good News of the Gospel that God is with us, Jesus has redeemed us, the Holy Spirit guides and directs us. The Gospel gives hope to those struggling with life and we are the ones privileged to of-fer life and hope to others.

In this newsletter I ask all the readers to reflect on the fact that every man and woman IS a mission; that is the reason for our life on this earth. In the Archdiocese we have, for many years now, been educating people in Stewardship and trying to help others discover that “intentional discipleship” is our best – and only response- to God’s constant and abundant goodness. I believe that embracing “intentional discipleship” is an ongoing part of our “missionary conversion.” The challenge to do this is as urgent as ever. Our living out of our faith is not just about what happens in our churches. Yes, we come to Mass to be part of a vibrant and exciting community; to be inspired and challenged by the Word of God; to be fed and nourished by the gift of the Eucharist. All of those gifts are not just for individuals. ey are given so that we live the mission our Archdiocesan Synod gave us almost two years ago when we reflected on the theme “Go, you are sent.”

We all know very well that in our individual lives we try to change every day, to be a little more loving, a little more patient, more kind and truthful. “Conversion” is a daily challenge, so too is “missionary conversion.” We have a task to do, at Baptism and Confirmation we were anointed for the task of being “a mission.”
Shall we get on with it?

Every blessing

Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 16 May 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,
A few weeks ago at a parish meeting I reminded all gathered that Pope Saint John Paul II had told us that “First of all, I have no hesitation in saying that all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness.” (Novo Millennio Ineunte 30) A few years later Pope Benedict wrote of the centrality of the Word of God and said “let the Bible inspire all pastoral work” (Verbum Domini 73). They are two excellent reasons for us to remember that ALL our parish and school meetings should begin with a substantial time of prayer.

I then asked someone to read out the following story as part of the prayer to begin the evening.

I heard once a story about a young African called Kahua. Kahua lived in the hills above a vast savannah in East Africa. One day he came down to the savannah and turned up at the Catholic compound where he met the priest. Kahua asked for a job for six months and as the priest urgently needed someone he was given a job. It turned out that Ka-hua was honest and industrious, imaginative and reliable and above all he got on with everyone so the priest came to rely on him. The priest was shocked when just short of the six months Kahua came to him to tell him that the time was almost up and he would be leaving in a week. “No Kahua, you can’t go. I need you. I know l have been cranky and difficult at times and l probably haven’t paid you enough but l promise to be better and make it up to you.” Kahua explained that it really wasn’t about money. He reminded the priest that his original request had been for a job for six months. When pushed he also explained that he lived in the hills and that one day when he was thinking about his life he had looked out on the savannah below where he saw the Christian compound and the Muslim mosque. He knew they were among the great world religions and thought they might have the answers he was searching for. So he told the priest, “/ thought / would go and work for you and the imam for six months each and then l would know which religion was best for me. Now it is time to go to work for the imam.” “My God, Kahua, why didn’t you tell me?” muttered the priest. But the fact is most people don’t tell us. They watch us. It is our witness not our homilies that is important.

Our parishes are about building loving supportive communities, reaching out to one another and creating places and spaces where everyone feels accepted and welcomed, where they know they belong. Last Friday in Blenheim at the Vigil for Fr John Pearce and at the Mass in the Marlborough Convention Centre on Saturday the constant message was one of thanks for the way John had “connected” so many people and so many diverse communities in the vast Marlborough area. It was his witness and his reaching out to others that was deeply appreciated.

Are we creating close and warn relationships in our parish and school communities, in our families? Does each person know that they are held in a network of solidarity and belonging? Do we enable others to find contentment and friendliness in our communities?

What would Kahua say if he was looking at us?

Naku noa
Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.