Tag Archives: JamesLyons

The Cathedral Connection 24 June 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Our parish is one of several inner-city parishes that support the work of Downtown Community Ministry Wellington.

DCM works with homeless people to help them get into houses. Once a person is reduced to living on the street a significant process is required for them to be able to get back into a house, beginning with addressing the reasons they first became homeless. Over the past decade DCM have supported hundreds of people to successfully escape homelessness and enter sustainable housing. DCM provides a range of associated services, such as support in dealing with Work and Income, supportive mental health and addiction services, money management services, medical and dental services, a foodbank, and preparation for work. Overall DCM offer holistic support for people who are disenfranchised in our city.

Our support for DCM is one important way in which we as a parish are able to help those on the peripheries, one of the goals of our recent Archdiocesan Synod. In our urban setting those without a home to live in are one group of the poor to whom Jesus calls us to be responsive to. To paraphrase Jesus “I was homeless and you gave me shelter”. One way to be responsive to those who are homeless today is in supporting the organised groups that provide effective processes and respectful support to address the homelessness of individuals.  In Wellington DCM is the leading group.

DCM Wellington is holding its annual bookfair on Saturday August 4. This is their major fundraiser for the year. On the next two Sundays you are invited to bring any spare books, CDs or DVDs you no longer need that you can donate to the bookfair (see notices inside). Of course, you can also support DCM by going to the bookfair at Shed 6 on Queen’s wharf where there will be thousands of books of every type at very modest prices.

Nick Polaschek

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 17 June 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Announcing the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis wrote that Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is always ready to forgive. [Misericordiae Vultus. 2013, par3]. It is in the context of this “Year”, which began with the opening of “Doors of Mercy” in churches throughout the world, that the Pope reminded us the Name of God is Mercy – surely one of the most consoling and encouraging aspects of Christian belief.

To know that the God revealed in Jesus Christ, the God we worship as Creator and Giver of life, is a God whose essence is mercy, who loves life more than anything else, must be shared and proclaimed for all the world to hear. It is this assurance that forgiveness is possible, that bad choices can be transfigured, is what so many yearn to know.

Chapter 15 of Luke’s gospel comprises three of Jesus’ parables. Each is powerful, but together they are truly significant. We first read of the lost sheep, then the lost coin, followed by the lost son. The shepherd, the woman and the parent agonise over their loss and there is the greatest rejoicing in all three households when the lost is found. To me, the sheep represents the animal world, the coin represents the material world and the son is there for all humanity. God wants nothing to be lost. All creation is sacred. Love never ends.

Nothing should keep any of us from admitting our failures and accepting God’s mercy. There is no need to fear. God is in fact looking out for us, searching and waiting, with a welcome home feast in mind. But – yes, there is a ‘but’ – the chapter ends with the older brother unable to forgive, suggesting he knows God by a different name! What is your name for God?

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.



HOMILY – 10 SUNDAY [B] 2018

My camping days are long over but I have great memories of summer nights under canvas at scout camps and on family holidays.  But for all the fun and adventure that filled those days we knew they had to end.  It was the tent that made that obvious.  The tent was just a temporary shelter.  It wasn’t our home.

St Paul makes this observation too, describing our life on earth as “tent-dwelling”.  The time will come, he says, for our tent to be folded up and taken home.  Linked to this is the image given in the first reading (Genesis) of God’s conversation with the “man” and the “woman” in the garden, and their consequent denial of responsibility: It wasn’t me who did wrong, they both say.

Camping out, under the canvas of God’s creation, excited by the new and fresh environment and the freedom given them to explore and discover, they mistakenly act as though they have permanent control rather than being only temporary residents.  Their failure to appreciate that everything they have is on loan; that they should be giving thanks rather than taking liberties, leaves them vulnerable to being manipulated, used and, ultimately, destroyed.

Let’s take another image.  This one comes from a British palliative care specialist, Dr Kathryn Mannix.  She points out that there are only two days with fewer than 24 hours in each life time: the day we’re born and the day we die.  They sit like bookends astride our lives.  One is celebrated every year, yet it is the other that makes us see living as precious.  [With the End in Mind, p.4]

Within those two shortened days we pitch our tent.  We are free to explore, to relate to others, to build friendships, to be part of a community, to use the natural world around us for our benefit.  We are not free to destroy one another, or ourselves, or the world around us; and, like good campers, we must try to leave the campsite in better condition than when we arrived.

What does it take to see living as precious?  If you’re like me, it probably takes a few mistakes, going down a wrong path or two, or letting pride dictate behaviour.  A 17-year old is starting a painting apprenticeship next month.  He said on radio this week he’d be in jail by now but for a training programme for troubled youth.  He suddenly sees living as precious.  I baptised a seriously ill woman in hospital last Thursday.  I don’t know why I didn’t accept this gift before, she told me.  Everything is so much clearer and more beautiful now.

We are tent dwellers, between two bookends of incomplete days.

Living is precious.

See it that way.

The Cathedral Connection 3 June 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Dinner’s ready! Come to the table! It’s an invitation that may not be heard too often these days with the family rarely together at meal time. Sports, meetings, shift work and overtime, demand individual timetables and the ideal of sitting together for a meal at the family table can remain a dream. It’s something most families would like to do. There is so much to be gained in sharing a meal.

Sitting around a table with others, it’s impossible to focus on myself. I’m pulled into a stream of conversation, passing dishes, asking for the salt, pepper, butter, sauce… There’s listening and talking. Learning, too, as others tell of their experiences or concerns. Laughter rewards a joke or an unintended gaffe. Any argument or rudeness gets a quick There’ll be none of that at this table! from Mum or Dad.

It is around the table that the family becomes truly itself, united in the moment of togetherness and in the memory of what makes this family. Traditions are created and celebrated, spontaneity welcomed and loyalty encouraged. What did you learn today? or What have you got to be thankful for today? can spark a beautiful and memorable passage of chatter and enjoyment. Hurts can be shared, and even healed.

Today’s feast of Corpus Christi highlights the identity of those baptised into the Christian faith. We are the Body of Christ, the People of God, the Church. The various traditions within the Christian family differ in many aspects of belief, but all know the value and importance of the “Gathered Table”.

The Table of the Eucharist is where we find our identity, where we are truly ourselves. This is the Table where what we do in memory of the Lord brings him present among us. He feeds our belonging and unites us more deeply with one another, strengthening us to go out, carrying him to those who have yet to hear clearly the invitation: Come to the table!

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.