Tag Archives: Debbie Matheson

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 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 9 June 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

“Peace be with you…
As the Father has sent me, so I send you…
Receive the Holy Spirit…
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven…”

The season of Easter concludes with today’s feast celebration. Pentecost commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit, the promised advocate, upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects.

In the context of the feast of Pentecost, today’s Gospel reminds us about the integral connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness and the action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace. Jesus then commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” As he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them, Jesus sends his disciples to continue his work of reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins.

The Holy Spirit empowers and enlightens us, both individually and as a community. Within communities the Spirit works to draw people from every nation together. Individually the Spirit gives us gifts that are to be used to build up the kingdom of God. We see in action every week at Mass gifts being used in the service of our worshipping community. We see it also in the work of various Christian organisations, St Vincent de Paul, Caritas, Foodbanks, Downtown Community Ministries, Home of Compassion.

This week as we go out, to carry on Jesus’ mission offering service to renewing the face of the earth, you may like to consider reflecting on these questions: which of your gifts do you feel the most comfortable with? Which gift discomforts or challenges you? Which gift do you feel you would like to develop more and use for God and the community?

Go, filled with the breath of God; forgive as Jesus forgave, in the knowledge and faith that He is with you always.

Debbie Matheson, Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 12 May 2019

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Our Shepherds

This Sunday is known liturgically as Good Shepherd Sunday, when prayers are offered for vocations to the Church’s ordained priesthood. This year we also celebrate Mother’s Day. Today Jesus, Pastoral Leaders and mothers are all people who shepherd us in various guises.

In last week’s gospel Jesus instructed Peter to ‘’feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep’’. We are Jesus’ sheep, who hear his voice and respond by following him.

Over the past week you have received letters from the shepherds in our community, the Finance Committee and Pastoral Council. They have written to you as a first step in seeking to begin the process of consultation, responding to Cardinal John’s directive.

United like a flock of sheep, shepherded by Jesus, led by Pope Francis, and Cardinal John, supported by the pastoral leadership team and our parish leadership teams, you have been asked to embrace the call to community.

As you reflect on our community letters and hear and respond to the Word of God on this Shepherding Sunday you may like to begin with these three questions:

  • How do I listen for the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd in my daily life?
  • How is He calling me to follow him at this moment in my life and specifically in this community?
  • How is He calling me to respond to Cardinal John’s directive?

Happy and blessed Mother’s Day to all those mothering and shepherding people in our community and in our lives.

Debbie Matheson
Lay Pastoral Leader.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 28 April 2019

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“Peace be with you…

As the father has sent me, so I send you”

“Today is the Octave of Easter – historically seen as completing the ‘’great day of resurrection’’.  We gather to hear the Word of God and to share the Eucharist.  We are celebrating and witnessing unity in the Risen Christ as a community.  We are given the Spirit to enable us to witness to the forgiveness of sin.

 We can all probably relate to feelings of being scared and confused, and wanting to hide away from reality, even for a while, just as we hear the apostles were doing in today’s Gospel.  But, when the Risen Christ came amongst them, He offered them peace and he breathed upon them and said “receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”.  As He did to the apostles, Jesus offers us peace.  Our peace comes from believing, and it is in believing that we are blessed, for as Jesus said to Thomas, ‘’do not be unbelieving, but believe… Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed’’.

 Each week we are sent forth – sent to build the kingdom of God here and now.  Sent forth to engage our wills, our skills and our heart.  As we wait in hope, we are asked to love those around us by confronting the selfishness that creates suffering in the world.

Go forth in peace and belief, with a loving and forgiving heart.  Build community as you live and share the Good News of the Risen Lord on this, Divine Mercy Sunday.

 Debbie Matheson
Lay Pastoral Leader

The full newsletter can be viewed here.