Tag Archives: Cathedral

The Cathedral Connection 23 February 2020

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Ah perfectionism my old friend. Often leaving me struggling against myself, or giving up before I’ve even given something a go because I ‘know’ that I can never do it to the level I or others would like me to. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear the call to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, I freeze.

These words come early in Jesus’ ministry and nearly three years later his own enemies would capture and persecute him. Would he really love and pray for his persecutors? Heck, I think we all would have understood if he decided to deny his earlier teaching; but, as we all know, there on the cross, Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

So if Jesus can do it, then surely I can, right? Each of our readings offers us guidelines to help us reach our potential. Indeed, loving our enemies takes a lot of learning about others as well as ourselves. It is a process of growth and transformation.

Christ showed his eternal love for us when he sacrificed his life on the cross. It was not sin that took Christ to the Cross, but love. And it is this love that guides us. His hands outstretched on the cross offer us that gift of transformation. This is not a one minute wonder product, but something that allows us to grow and mature, and it takes time. As we learn about others we move beyond our own prejudices and fears and grow in ourselves.

As Pope Francis says “… the way to perfection is found in these small steps … small steps of charity and love.” So, don’t let a drive to always get things right first time stop you from starting. Allow holiness to shape your life for the good of others as well as yourself. Christ’s love is a gift of transformation to be perfectly holy, by eliminating hatred and in turn gifting ourselves to each other in love.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

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The Cathedral Connection 16 February 2020

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Ecumenism and our Neighbours

This year the Parish Council is supporting a stronger relationship with our friends at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. We have enjoyed a good relationship with St Paul’s for many years and our two congregations have met together for many joint services, the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday, to give one example. In 2020, there will be opportunities for us to meet more often.

So, who are Anglicans and how are we similar? Anglicans are Christians who have bishops and dioceses, like us. If you went to an Anglican eucharist, you might not notice much difference. The Kyrie eleison and Nicene Creed are the same. The communion rite is materially different, but mostly the words on the page rather than the celebration. If you went to Evensong (equivalent of our Vespers and Complan combined) i.e., you might notice that you pray for the Queen. There are some important doctrinal differences, but Anglicans like Catholics believe that salvation comes to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and as an expression of the Father’s grace.

So, what is there to learn? I suggest that we can learn a lot from each other. Some Catholics may benefit from Anglicanism’s focus on the scriptures. Anglicans might enjoy our rich practice of prayer and meditation. That is not of course to say that we do not read the bible and they do not spend time in prayer.

As we think of Ecumenism and our aspiration for unity among Christians, I invite you to meet our neighbours a bit more this year. We will keep you posted.

Nicholas Burley
Parish Council Member

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The Cathedral Connection 9 February 2020

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Dear parishioners and friends,

I am delighted to have been appointed Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish and to be working with Lay Pastoral Leader Debbie Matheson, Director of Music Michael Fletcher and Office Administrator Frank Doherty.  When I arrived in previous parishes I told the parishioners that I had no great ambition as a priest other than to be available for the people that I am privileged to serve.  I am looking forward to continuing this approach in the Cathedral Parish.

In addition to ministry in the parish, I help to guide and support young men who are discerning a call to priesthood in the Archdiocese of Wellington.  Gerson Badayos, a prospective student for the priesthood has recently arrived from the Philippines and will be in Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish during 2020 for a “come and see” experience.  Please keep Gerson in your prayers and welcome him into our parish community.  I will be introducing him at Masses this weekend.  In addition to Gerson we also have three seminarians in formation for priesthood at Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland (Matthew White, Kinh Nguyen and Emilio Capin).  Alfred Tong is on pastoral placement in Our Lady of the Bays Parish in Richmond, Motueka and Takaka.

An essential part of being a priest is being about and getting to know people.  So I would be very grateful for invitations for a cuppa or a meal in the weeks and months ahead.  This will help Gerson and I to settle into the parish and get to know people. My email address is d.dowling@wn.catholic.org.nz and my phone number is 496 1790.  If you or anyone you know would appreciate a visit please feel free to get in touch.

Nga mihi nui
Fr David

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The Cathedral Connection 2 February 2020

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It’s not often today’s Feast, that of the Presentation, falls on a Sunday. As St Luke explains, the infant Jesus, being a first-born, was presented to the Lord. A number of points might be made about the way Luke tells the story. First, he emphasises that Jesus and his parents were devout Jews. Secondly, there’s another ‘recognition’ of Jesus as the salvation, not only of Israel, but of all the world.

Some commentators point out that Luke likes to balance men and women in his stories – not only in the stories about Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah – but also in the parables Jesus tells, where one featuring a man is followed by one featuring a woman. In today’s gospel it’s Simeon and Anna (or Hannah), both elderly prophets, filled with the Holy Spirit, who recognise Jesus. Unfortunately we don’t have Anna’s words, but Simeon’s words – ‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace…’ are well known and are very beautiful, speaking as they do of a fulfilled old age.

But there is a catch. Simeon also warns Mary that ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too’. We can only imagine how Mary might have felt, hearing such words on a solemn and joyful day. As well as the allusion to Jesus’s future, perhaps, we are being reminded that to love also means to risk grief, to risk loss. But, as the Song of Songs reminds us, love is stronger than death.


The Presentation story is also about endings and beginnings  – Anna and Simeon are elderly; Jesus is an infant with his life ahead of him. Last week we farewelled Fr Doug Shepherd.. Today we welcome Fr David Dowling as our new Parish Priest. Fr David, we are delighted to have you with us and we ask that God will bless your ministry with us, and ours with yours,  in the months and years ahead.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

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The Cathedral Connection 26 January 2020

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Call and Response

Like Peter, Andrew, James and John in today’s gospel, we are called by Jesus, called from darkness into the light and sent on Mission.

Each week we gather to hear God’s Word, receive nourishment in the Eucharist and worship together as one people, one body in Christ.  We celebrate that we are the People of God, His chosen ones, those whom He has called to be His hands and voice in our world today.

Pope Francis has dedicated this weekend, “The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time for devotion to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”.  As we listen to the Word of God it gives us a glimpse of the world God intends for us, and challenges us to live up to our calling.

This Sunday we hear Jesus giving to the first disciples and, by extension, to us that appointment – our mission. The gospel is set at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry.  He comes proclaiming the good news and healing the sick.  He calls people by name to be His followers and takes them on mission.

As disciples, living in the light, we are no longer isolated individuals, we are a united people who have been chosen, baptised, and called to mission – to proclaim the gospel, to feed the hungry, to comfort those who are afflicted…  Jesus calls us to collaborate with him in continuing his work.  As collaborators and community ‘together we can do more than we can alone’.  How are we as a parish family responding to Jesus’ call to mission?  How are you embracing the service you have been chosen for?

In December Cardinal John announced an Archdiocesan Year of Mission which begins on 14 March with a Mission Expo.  Our Parish Pastoral Council is working to bring together some parish formation and service opportunities to support you in the church’s mission.

Debbie Matheson
Lay Pastoral Leader

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