Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 11 August 2019

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Initiation to the Christian life

It is both a privilege and an opportunity for personal growth when you accompany people on their journey to explore our Catholic faith. The parish currently has two people wanting to embark upon a journey through a Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) formation programme that starts at the beginning of September. The piece below, written by Joe Green, the Archdiocesan RCIA Co-ordinator, explores te ara (the pathway) of the RCIA programme and the role of the parish.  We hope Joe’s reflective questions will encourage you to attend an information evening on how you can become involved in various aspects of this year’s programme (see notice inside for details).

The initiation of catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful’ (RCIA #4). This simple sentence sums up the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the ‘RCIA’. It is this sentence that is driving a sea-change around the world in the way catechumens, those who are not baptised Christians, are initiated to Christian life (not to be confused with the baptised who wish to become Catholic).

And what is the Christian life? The RCIA (#75) outlines four major components: worship and prayer, word, community and mission and service.

Since the RCIA was revitalised following Vatican II it has tended to be seen as a class-based introduction to Catholicism, heavily loaded with learning dogma and doctrine.

Dogma and doctrine are important, but they are only one small part of the process. More important is participation in the life of the parish: liturgies, prayer, social groups, service such as communion to the sick, foodbanks, St Vincent de Paul, community committees, support to refugees and migrants, Catholic social action.

As a parish community do we live this Christian life? Why would someone want to join us? How do we help them grow? What would keep them here?

Debbie Matheson, Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here

The Cathedral Connection 4 August 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Thank You!

Thanks to all who attended the consultation meetings last week. The combined attendance was about 45 people, and the discussion was lively and even entertaining. We will put out a fuller summary soon. Some points seemed to attract a lot of interest. One was the desirability of making the piazza a greener space, and enhancing the potential of that area and the courtyard for meditation and relaxation. Several people spoke of the importance of opportunities for deepening our knowledge of the Bible.

Many agreed that what brings us together, apart from our common faith, is the importance of working together and caring for each other.  There were also questions about whether we do that as well as we could.  Similarly, several people thought communication could be improved. Of course, too, everyone is keen to get back into the Cathedral – there is an update inside this newsletter – and there were suggestions about a big re-opening event, including inviting the Pope.

In the next few weeks representatives of the Parish Council and Finance Committee will work on developing these insights, and the earlier surveys, into a draft parish response to Cardinal John. We expect to make that available for feedback, and in the meantime if anyone would like to offer their thoughts on the consultation questions, please get them into the parish office by 12 August. The questions can be found on the parish website in the newsletter of 21 July.

The best feature of the discussion, I thought, was that everyone spoke honestly and listened respectfully.  Perhaps, in a world where sometimes it seems that shouting and putting people down prevails, we might be a model of dialogue and encounter — in our parish community and everywhere we go.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council

The full newsletter can be viewed here

The Cathedral Connection 28 July 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


The importance of prayer is a favourite theme in Luke. It underpins the message in both the First Reading and in the Gospel of today.

In the First Reading we have Abraham interceding with God on Sodom’s behalf. A city full of evil and corruption. Abraham is troubled by the idea of the innocent being punished along with the guilty so passionately prays to God, even bargains with him.

The First Reading highlights the importance of intercessory prayer and reveals the true mercy of God.

This prepares us for the Gospel in which Jesus tells his disciples how to pray to God, the Father and urges them to be persistent and confident in their prayers.

‘Ask, and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.’

 With every blessing
Fr Doug

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 14 July 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Loving both our God and our neighbour is a challenge put to us in today’s gospel. What does being neighbourly ask of me, and am I willing to be a neighbour to others?

While our view of who our neighbours are might be limited to our relatives; our parish family; the people who live next door; today’s parable highlights that as Christians our neighbour encompasses all of humanity.

How often do you find yourself with your head down merely passing people by on the street and ignoring even a simple hello or a smile? Our Christian faith demands of us that we be Christ to each other. Jesus calls for us to act with mercy and compassion in all that we do; to act justly; to treat others as we wish to be treated, portraying the innate dignity that everyone is born with.

Jesus has shown us many examples of loving our neighbour throughout his life and today’s parable is a call to action. As you take time to reflect and pray with today’s gospel, consider what concrete action you are being called to do. Consider who your neighbour is. Is it the suffering and disseminated members of our parish community or those we see, even pass by or hear about in the media each day?

Remember we are all beloved children of God, and therefore we are all neighbours to one another. May we bear witness to this in everyday life, sharing the love for God and our neighbour and truly being a disciple of Christ.

Debbie Matheson
Lay Pastoral Leader

The Cathedral Connection 7 July 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here


It was good to see so many parishioners at the AGM three weeks ago, and good that we had an open discussion about the progress of the Cathedral strengthening project. Hopefully, the article on page 3 of this newsletter will address some of the questions that we have.

It is not an easy time for us as a parish. The first reading at today’s Mass is a short piece from the last chapter of the writings of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah.  Much of the book of Isaiah is about returning and restoration after exile and impoverishment – written in the context of the exile of the Jewish people in Babylon. I have sometimes thought that in these months our parish can relate to this theme; although we can still come together in worship and in community, it’s ‘not the same’, and we are anxious for the restoration to come.

Much of the prophetic writing, too, exhorts the people to do justice and to live in peace with each other. And today’s gospel, where disciples are sent out, reminds us that the church must step outside, must be a missionary church. In today’s Wel-Com, Cardinal John draws our attention to Pope Francis’ request that October be an extraordinary ‘month of mission’.  We are invited to reflect, simply, on what we are here for as a faith community.

This is what we are also asked to do as we reflect, during this year, on our parish buildings. All are invited to two parish meetings at the end of this month, to develop our response to Cardinal John’s pastoral letter of last February. Again, we might begin by reflecting on what are we here for. What is our role as a cathedral parish? As a parish in the city? The surveys conducted in May have helped us think about what we do well, and where we might develop.

The discussion will continue, and it may be that we use this awkward time to refresh ourselves as a faith community, as a mission community.

Peace be with us all.
Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.