Tag Archives: CardinalJohn

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 18 April 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

The liturgies of this Holy Week invite us to engage with the words, actions and experiences that were part of Jesus’s journey to live the life his Father called him to live. As we live Holy Week, hopefully we can see how each step and feeling that Jesus experienced applies to our lives as well. His reality reflects our reality. That is the mystery and truth of the incarnation and Holy Week. In a strange way this Jesus week is a metaphor for our own lives.

Palm Sunday saw Jesus welcomed as a King with shouts of confidence and acclamation. Most of us know what it is to be celebrated and affirmed by others, to have others put their faith in us and to be recognised as someone special. We also know how quickly that can change. Realisation dawns that they didn’t really understand – that the rela-tionship wasn’t mutual or life giving.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mirror the ordinary times of our lives. We journey along enjoying, and maybe enduring, the ordinary and the mundane wondering what we are here for and experiencing a restlessness about life and our future. Maybe we like Jesus start to look around us wondering if our friends are committed to the same values and dreams.

Holy Thursday is our big wake up call. Jesus shows us how he wants each of us to be. He shows us what service and sacrifice is all about. He gives us a mandate to love and to serve and to give ourselves without counting the cost. Yet even the one closest to him don’t get it. Peter is confused and protests. Jesus looks at each of us and says that is how I want you to live YOUR life. Do as I do. Let your life mirror my life.

Then the horror of Good Friday. He is judged and con-demned because he is a good man. Feelings of chaos, des-pair, betrayal, fear, anxiety, well up in Jesus and us. Is the pain, challenge and change too much? Will we face it and live through it? Or run away and ignore the one we | followed. So, what do we do? The Challenge of Good Friday is to kiss and embrace our cross. And like him in our pain and suffering reach out in love, forgiveness and compassion. In total trust we throw ourselves willingly and fearfully into the hands our God.
Saturday is the time of emptiness and aloneness- when we are faced with nothingness. The end of a relationship, a betrayal, a hopeless situation, despair and darkness, and what seems like nothing. The day when we witness the death of our dream and fall into our personal deepest fear and dark tomb. A sad and scary nothingness. Sit there and life will teach us.
Then the fire of hope is lit in the church and in ourselves. We renew our Baptismal vows as adults – recommit to that which was done for us as children. We say we will live like Jesus did, walk his way, speak his truth. Make Jesus the meaning of our lives. Make him the reason for all the seasons and weeks in our lives.

We are now an Easter people of hope who are confident and graced to shine the light of the Real and Risen Christ in our inner and outer worlds.

Happy Easter, peace be with you

Naku noa.
Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 7 April 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


This week, Pope Francis published his response to last year’s Synod on Youth. It begins with the words ‘Christ is Alive’, in Latin, ‘Christus Vivit’ and that will be the common title of this apostolic exhortation.  Unlike some of Francis’s other teaching documents, this one hasn’t made much of a media splash (the download link is inside this newsletter).

Francis addresses, first, young people, but then all the people of God.  He writes in his usual warm, encouraging, and realistic, style.  Of young people in particular, as well as the difficulties which afflict many, he emphasises their ‘genuine desire to develop their talents in order to offer something to our world. In some, we see a special artistic sensitivity, or a yearning for harmony with nature. In others, perhaps, a great need to communicate. In many of them, we encounter a deep desire to live life differently’ (section 84).

I recalled the courage and leadership of our young people in striking to raise awareness of climate change, three weeks ago, and how his words describe the young people with whom I work most days.

To the church as a whole, he urges that ‘we should not stand apart from others’ even while we try to live up to our ideals, including generosity, service, forgiveness, prayer, justice and social friendship (s. 36).  Francis also calls for balance; young people, he says, don’t want a silent church’,  but nor do they want ‘one that is always battling obsessively over two or three issues’ The church’s credibility, and not only with young people, depends on listening (s.41).

Perhaps some of Francis’s observations in this letter might be helpful to our parish community as we respond to Cardinal John’s request that we reflect on the best use of our buildings and other assets.  How can we equip ourselves to support each other as a faith community and as the people of God in the world?

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 4 April 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

When I was doing formation work at our National Seminary many years ago, I used to often say to the students that when ordained, they would be privileged to be called “Father.” But I also used to say that they had to earn the privilege of being called “Father” because of the way they were living their lives – serving the people of God in such a way that they were bringing life and hope to the People of God.

Last weekend I read an article written by a priest from France, Jean-Pierre Roche, entitled “Stop calling me Father.” Like him, I now wonder why we priests are called “Father.” In August last year Pope Francis wrote a Letter to the People of God, to all of us. The Holy Father appealed to all of God’s people to take action against “clericalism” which he sees as the source of abuse perpetrated by priest and bishops. In his article Jean-Pierre Roche says that we may be able to make some small changes to overcome clericalism by not expecting to be called “Father.” He wrote about three reasons why we should not be called “Father.”

The first reason is to be found in the Gospel. We are all disciples of Jesus who said “You are not to be called ‘Master’ – you have but one Master, and you are all brothers and sisters. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,” for you have but one Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:8-9) These words are, of course, difficult to interpret and understand, but the meaning is clear. Jean-Pierre Roche says that to be called “Father” is to usurp the place of God. It becomes even more serious if a priest begins to play God – and sometimes that is what “clericalism” is.

Secondly, calling us “Father” makes our people act in such a way that people are put into a relationship of parent and child. It is not possible to have equal relationships between adults who are brothers and sisters if we call one of them “Father.” We all share the dignity of the daughters and sons of God. If we want the Church to be a family where we care for and look after one another we need to reflect on these words from the Second Vatican Council: “Even though some, by the will of Christ, are made doctors and pastors for the good of others, in terms of the dignity and activities of all the faithful in the edification of the Body of Christ, there is true equality among all.” Lumen Gentium 32

Finally, he says that the practice of calling us “Father” can be unhealthy because it becomes an expression of dependence which is based on a false and unreal idea of obedience. Being called “Father” may seem important to some priests, but is it really that important? What is more important is that we live and act in such a way that we treat one another as the daughters and sons of God.

Making a choice to tell the people we serve not to call us Father (or for me “Your Eminence” or “Cardinal”) might seem a very small thing to do, but it may be the beginning of the reform in the Church which we have been asked to do by Pope Francis.
Our priesthood is our response to living out our Baptism. It is our common Baptism that gives us the dignity of the daughters and sons of God.

Naku noa.

Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Homily – 3rd Sunday of Lent

3rd Sunday of Lent:

Today’s Gospel seems very harsh…Jesus gives a warning ‘unless you repent, you will all perish’ He was not giving a threat …he was speaking of God’s love and patience.

Part of today’s Gospel is chillingly like what happened in Christchurch…it’s almost the story of a terrorist  attack that we have heard so much about in these last day.  The Roman official, Pontius Pilate, had sent troops into the Temple in Jerusalem to brutally wipe out a small group of Galilean pilgrims who had gone down to Jerusalem, ‘mingling their blood with their sacrifices’, it has some dreadful similiarities to the Mosque attacks.

He used another and spoke of the tragedy where eighteen people had been crushed to death when a tower in the city’s old wall had suddenly collapsed on top of them.

Hearing of these calamities, Jesus asked: “why did these dreadful things occur?” Was it because the people who lost their lives were terrible sinners, worse than other people?

There was a view among Jews, which is not unknown among believers even today, that disasters are a punishment from God for sinful behaviour. That is not so.

When Jesus commented on the sudden massacre in the temple and the accidental crushing to death of people by the collapsing tower, he was making it clear that this was not because of their sins……. that was not the point. He was saying was that the victims of the atrocity in the Temple and the disaster of the tower’s collapse meant they had all died suddenly and without having the opportunity to repent and make their peace with God. I am not saying that about the people in the Mosques.

To help his listeners Jesus told a parable  … The owner of a garden had a fig tree, but year after year he never found any fruit. In frustration and exasperation the owner told the gardener to cut the tree down: it wasn’t bearing fruit, it was taking up good space. But the gardener asked his boss to give the tree one more year …… ‘If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down’. In other words, the gardener said, “give it one more chance.”

It’s the same with God, God never gets tired of giving us another chance. This is about God’s patience with us.

God’s patience with us is God’s decision to show us respect, and allow us ‘space and time’ to develop and grow. There is no limit to God’s patience with each of us. There is no limit to God’s patience, but there is to the space and time we have to keep turning back and focussing on God. There are endless opportunities for us to profit from God’s patience;

When this Gospel was written it was to help and encourage believers who might have sinned seriously to turn back to the Lord and be reconciled with the community in preparation for Easter; that’s the purpose in Jesus’s saying ‘repent or perish’.

So, today we review our Lenten programme, and think about how we have been able to keep up with whatever prayer, penance or good works we decided on for Lent. If we have slipped, for whatever reason, there is nothing to prevent us from starting now, starting again.

The prayer for today is highly appropriate too: ‘Father, you have taught us to overcome our sins by prayer, fasting and works of mercy. When we are discouraged by our weakness, give us confidence in your love.’  Any of us can be disappointed with our weaknesses, we have to learn to be patient with ourselves too.

Maybe at this stage of Lent – halfway through- we might have to admit that this Lent is not all we had hoped for.  On Ash Wednesday, we intended to make some changes in our lives, now we might be disappointed in ourselves.

Jesus “gets” us, understands our hearts and knows that our instinct is to give up when the tree bears no fruit.  Today we learn not to give up  the hope that we can be better.

A good question to ask God is, “What is it you want to give me this Lent?”    Such a question could lead to heart to heart conversation with God …..

What is it you desire to free in my heart so I can love better?
How can I be more loving to my family? 
Where can I be a peacemaker with my children, with others?
How do you want to soften my heart from being harsh with others to being more loving – in the way you have loved me?
How can I be less judgmental and see others as you see them?
What would it cost me to slow down my life so I can listen to you more deeply?

When I fast, it can focus my attention more clearly on Jesus and how he wants to heal my heart.

Lent is what Pope Francis calls, “a journey of preparation, preparation to know God the gift of God’s patience and mercy.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 21 March 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

In my last newsletter two weeks ago, I wrote about the line that had deeply impressed me from a Hymn sung at a Mass I celebrated with the Sisters of Mercy. The line of the Hymn was “There is never a time for hope to die.” Little did I know that just a week later New Zealand would be facing one of its “darkest days.” The tragedy of 50 people being shot and killed while they were at prayer on a Friday afternoon could easily make us think that hope had died. We have heard so much in the last few days about how “New Zealand has changed forever.” I believe that is true, this has been a very difficult time for everyone and will continue to be for a long time to come.

Amid this disaster people all over the country have turned out in their thousands to pray at many differ-ent services, have taken flowers to Mosques and stood outside the Mosques in solidarity with Muslims. Politicians and Civic Leaders who do not often speak of love and compassion, kindness and care have done so eloquently and with passion.

We have witnessed deep goodness and compassion in so many people. I have never heard so many people talking about how a dreadful act of violence has brought out the good in so many other people. This is the time for anyone in New Zealand to stand up and say that we have had enough of violence and racism and bigotry and hatred, attitudes which are negative and destructive do nothing for our society.

Last year Pope Francis wrote that wonderful document on Holiness called “Gaudete et Exsultate,” he wrote powerfully about the call to holiness and used the Beatitudes from Matthews Gospel to help us reflect on what holiness is. He wrote:

Being poor of heart: that is holiness

Reacting with meekness and humility: that is holiness

Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness

Hungering and thirsting for righteousness: that is holiness

Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness

Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness

Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness

Thousands of people around Aotearoa New Zealand have mourned with others, have been showing us that they are hungering and thirsting for right behaviour and justice, have been showing mercy, keeping their hearts free of anything that might tarnish words and acts of love, and above all have been sowing peace all around. Most of those people would not dream of calling themselves “holy”. I believe they are.

I thank God and I thank the people of New Zealand who have shown such love and goodness, such at-titudes of welcoming all and accepting everyone in this land we are proud to call our home. This is big-ger than New Zealand; messages of love and support have been received from Civic and Religious Leaders from all over the world who are thinking of and praying for us. Thank you to everyone who has not “allowed hope to die.”

With abundant blessings,
Naku noa. Na + Hoane

The full newsletter can be viewed here.