Tag Archives: Lent

The Cathedral Connection 17 March 2019

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Prayer – Being in the Presence of Love

Today’s Gospel passage – the Transfiguration – would have been a ‘moment to be treasured’ for Peter, James and John. No wonder Peter wanted to prolong the moment – “let us build 3 tents…” He didn’t want the moment to end. Prayer is that meeting place with God. Our Catholic tradition has a richness of ways of encountering God in prayer. What they have in common is that they join in the prayer of Jesus to the Father. All prayer is through, with and in Jesus.

This Lent can be a good time to look at our prayer life. I would like to mention 2 forms of prayer that you may have heard mentioned recently.

Lectio Divina: The Latin phrase “lectio divina” means “divine reading.” It is a way of praying with the Scriptures. As one reads and invites the Word to become a transforming lens that brings the events of daily living into focus, one can come to live more deeply and find the presence of God more readily in the events of each day. The method follows four steps: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), contemplatio (contemplation), and oratio (prayer).

Meditation: Whereas most forms of prayer involve words and song, either written, memorized, or spontaneous, meditative prayer concentrates on just ‘being in God’s presence.’ Meditative Prayer began in the earliest centuries of the Church, when men and women went into the Desert to find God. Cassian went to meet them with them. He asked them ‘What is prayer and how do your pray?’ The answer he received was simple and profound. Go to a quiet place and spend time with God. Take a word or a phrase, and gently say it over and over. When distractions come, return to your word. Cassian wrote about what he had been taught.

St Benedict, who began the monastic tradition, knew Cassian’s writing, and used it in his directions for his monks. Through the centuries, the practice of meditation continued through monasteries and convents. Many are rediscovering meditation and Lectio Divina as wonderful forms of prayer, seeing them indeed as a “moments to be treasured.”

Fr Ron

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 6 March 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

Last Saturday I celebrated Mass for the Sisters of Mercy who were gathered in Wellington for a pre-Chapter meet-ing. After Communion the Sisters sang a hymn based on the well-known piece of Scripture from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-18, which has been turned into songs and hymns, known as “There is a Time for Every Season Under Heaven.” The refrain for this particular hymn went:

“But there’s never a time to stop believing, there’s never a time for hope to die, there’s never a time to stop loving, these three things go on.” I loved it when the Sisters sang these words and found myself reflecting on them, and especially on the words “there’s never a time for hope to die.” Two days before this Mass I had returned from Rome where I had attended three different meetings. The major meeting was with Pope Francis and the Presi-dents of Bishops’ Conferences, and Heads of Religious Orders from all over the world on “The Protection of Mi-nors in the Church.” That meeting was very hard, but I knew that I was held in prayer by so many people here in New Zealand, and I am deeply grateful for that. It could have been very easy to give in to despair, especially at the end of the meeting when the news came out about the sentencing of Cardinal George Pell. These have been, and are, hard times for the Church, but – “there’s never a time for hope to die.”

All around the world the Church has been subject to me-dia attention, it has not been good. However, I believe we must first of all acknowledge that first and foremost we are a community of disciples, of people who follow and learn from Jesus Christ. The community of disciples we all belong to makes up the Body of Christ. These are not just words, it is a fact, we are the Body of Christ, we are a Body made up of saints and sinners. Pope Francis has often spoken of the Church as a “field- hospital.” In do-ing so he reminds us that we cannot escape the messiness of life, and he challenges us to be realistic and not get caught up in some idealised future or romantic past.

In the midst of the difficulties the Church faces, the embarrassment we all suffer, we can do no more than look to the Suffering Servant, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who invites us to put our faith in him, to trust in him. Now that we have begun the Season of Lent, this “season of grace” we turn to Jesus with full confidence. In this time which can seem to be nothing more than darkness, crisis and perhaps even despair, we are powerfully re-minded that Lent is the time to pay closer attention to the Word of God and to become more Christlike. This is not a time to be negative, or to give up on our faith. Lent is a positive time for each of us to grow personally, and for us as the Body of Christ to become stronger, knowing that “there’s never a time to stop believing, there’s never a time for hope to die, there’s never a time to stop lov-ing, these three things go on.”

Naku noa. Na + Hoane

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The Cathedral Connection 3 March 2019

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The Call

 How often do we find ourselves stuck in a state of repetition in our lives? Lost in the noise, haste and desire for things to be there when we want them we find we have lost the time to think, to be creative, and to listen to ourselves and the world around us.

Ash Wednesday and the season it introduces is a call. A call to pause, and to listen, and in that time and space that silence holds find a place where we can truly reflect.

While Ash Wednesday begins our season of Lent it is also the beginning of our own journey with Christ to his death and resurrection. We enter this journey marked outwardly with ash signifying the feeling of what is going on on the inside. We are truly sorry for those things which have kept us apart from God and one another.

So come together this Ash Wednesday, and be united one to another through God’s great love. May it be our resolve and intention to keep this Lent holy, and when we are reminded of the mark of the cross on our foreheads may we remember the first mark of Christ that assured us that we belong to him alone, and to him we will return.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 21 February 2019

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Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

Cordiali saluti a tutti voi da Roma

By the time you receive this newsletter from Rome we will be heading into the second day of the meeting with Pope Francis of the Presidents of Bishops Conferences from all over the world. This meeting has been called by the Holy Father to discuss the issue of sexual abuse of minors. The Pope has described this meeting as “coming together in solidarity, humility and penitence to repair the damage done, sharing a common commitment to transparency, and holding everyone in the Church accountable.”

Your prayers for this meeting will be very much appreciated.

Last week I attended the Plenary Meeting of the Congregation for Divine Worship. The theme of this meeting was about the formation of all the baptized in order for everyone to be able to actively participate in the Church’s Liturgy. It is because we are baptized into Church and become one with him that we ALL share in His priesthood. Ordained priests have a particular role to play in Liturgy as they act in the name of Christ the High Priest, but ALL the baptised are called to give glory and praise to God. On one of the mornings last week we met with Pope Francis. Despite the many challenges he faces, he was relaxed, laughing and joking, and at the same time asking for our prayers. When I spoke with him I assured him of the prayerful support of the Catholic people of New Zealand, so please pray for him. Please pray especially for this meeting taking place now as the sexual abuse crisis weighs heavily on his heart, and he is genuinely trying to find a way to address this very difficult issue.

The first three days of this week I have also been at the meeting of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy. This has also been a fruitful and helpful meeting to attend. ICEL, as it is known, also has some major challenges in ensuring that we have the correct translations for our Liturgy and that they are words which speak to the minds and hearts of us all. Please also pray for the ongoing work of ICEL which serves the English-speaking Church so well.

Form Rome, I ask for your prayerful support and assure you that I am also remembering you all in prayer.

With every blessing

Naku noa. Na + Hoane

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The Cathedral Connection 18 February 2018

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 ONCE AGAIN Lent is with us. From a time when the emphasis was on “giving up” and “making sacrifices”, we are now asked to see this graced season as an opportunity to improve ourselves and our relationships by

  • deepening our awareness of what it means to be a Catholic Christian in the 21st century;
  • examining our personal relationship with God, self, others and creation;
  • looking beyond our own needs to help alleviate suffering and hardship elsewhere.

Reaching these goals can be helped by taking time for quiet reflection or meditation and/or joining one of the archdiocesan adult education programmes. The Caritas Lenten initiatives open paths to developing faith and becoming more alert to the ways in which faith can be put into action.

The ash that signals the beginning of Lent is the banner that champions change.  It can make winners of us all.

Fr James


Burned palms
Echoes of triumph
Trampled underfoot
Squashed into ash

Smeared on foreheads
Lifted up for blessing
Hopeful new beginnings
With the sign of the

Runners on the mark
And forty days ahead
Ash defies the critics
Signalling glory
Going for gold

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