Tag Archives: Mass

The Cathedral Connection 5 May 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


Every parish in this archdiocese has a parish pastoral council. The council is described in the archdiocesan guidelines as ‘the primary consultative body that assists the pastoral leadership team… especially in the area of pastoral planning’.

The council is responsible for developing and updating a pastoral plan, and working with the whole parish to make it happen. The plan will address the ‘spiritual, liturgical, pastoral and social needs’ of the parish, and the parish’s mission in church and city. The pastoral council does not do everything – as we know, we are blessed with many people in the parish who generously give their time, and we have liturgy and finance committees as well.  Its role is more about oversight and advice.

In this parish, the pastoral council members have usually been invited by the parish priest to serve. As a group, we think it would now be helpful for the pastoral council to be affirmed by the parish annual general meeting. This might make the pastoral council more visible, and it might make it more clear that the council serves the parish as a whole. It might also make the beginning and end of individuals’ terms clearer.

Normally our council has had around ten members. With departures, we need between four and six new members. It is important that the council members together represent the parish as a whole – in terms of ages, cultural communities, which masses they attend, a balance of men and women, and so on.

If you would be interested in serving, or would like to suggest someone who might be willing – usually for terms of two years at a time  – please contact me at jmcaloon@xtra.co.nz, or contact Debbie Matheson.

Jim McAloon, Chair Parish Pastoral Council.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 31 March 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

 The parable of the Prodigal Son is probably the best known and best loved of all of Jesus’ stories. The younger son discovers that, in spite of his sins he is deeply loved and forgiven by his father. Gandhi experienced this when he was fifteen. He stole something from his brother. However, he felt so bad about it that he made up his mind to confess it to his father. He wrote out his sin on a piece of paper, asking for forgiveness and punishment, while promising to never steal again.

At the time his father was very sick and in bed. Gandhi handed him the note and sat by his father’s bedside waiting for judgment and punishment. His father sat up in bed and began to read the note. As he read it, tears came into his eyes. Gandhi himself began to cry. Instead of getting angry and punishing him, the father hugged the repentant son, and that was the end of the matter.

The experience of being loved while he was in sin had a profound effect on Gandhi. He said years later, ‘Only the person who has experienced this kind of love can know what it is.’

Those who experience this kind of love, know something about the heart of God and in the power of repentance and forgiveness. God never closes his heart to any of his children. No matter what they do, if they return to Him, the one thing they can be sure of is an unconditional and generous welcome.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 10 March 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


At Easter we will celebrate the holiest time of our Christian calendar, the Resurrection.

Now we begin Lent, a time to prepare and ready ourselves for that great feast. We are invited to let God find us where we are spiritually in both body and mind.

God asks the same question to each of us: ‘Where are you my beloved sons and daughters?’ During this Lent we are invited to make the time to review and reflect where we are in our Christian lives and discover God’s presence anew.

We are challenged to make time to listen to his Word. We are invited to let him get close to who we are and to how we are in living out the Gospel values. To reconcile our lives to God and to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, may the word of God find you and nourish you this Lenten Season.

With every blessing.

Fr Doug

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


FAREWELL – BUT NOT TO MISSION [6th Sunday [C] –17 Feb. 2019]

Leaving a parish is not too much different from arriving in one.  Both are occasions for anxiety.  The priest or lay leader will feel nervous at the beginning because almost everything and everyone have yet to be met.  Fr Doug feels that right now; Debbie, not so much anymore.   Nerves again start to bite when the time comes to leave because almost everything and everyone that lies ahead are unknown or at least unfamiliar.  And that’s where I am.

The gospel passage we’ve just heard follows immediately after Jesus names his 12 apostles.  The moment signals an end to the life they’ve known without Jesus, and the beginning of a time with Jesus but shrouded in mystery.  And, as they step into this “unknown”, they hear Jesus pronounce blessings on all the things they were not expecting to be part of their life with him.

They’d had secure livelihoods and didn’t want to be poor, but Jesus is blessing the poor; they’d enjoyed good meals, but Jesus blesses the hungry; the last thing they want is to be sad, yet they hear Jesus blessing those who weep!

Of course, Jesus is not condemning riches, food or laughter; these are good in themselves and Jesus enjoyed them all.  He’s warning though that, when we have these things in abundance, it becomes easy to forget God, or to act as though we don’t need God – or, in the words of Sir Humphry from that delightful British comedy, Yes Prime Minister, God becomes “an optional extra”

I have been richly blessed during these 11 years at SH Cathedral Parish; food and laughter have accompanied me in all my visits and times with you.  They have not drawn me away from God, because they are reflections of your faith and your love.  I am aware of my poverty at the times when I am not able to adequately meet your need, or ease your doubt, or comfort your grief.  There is poverty and there is blessing in accepting you can’t do everything.

I feel the weakness that hunger brings when I cannot stem the flow of people away from Sunday Mass; when I hold the Bread of Life in my hands but am aware that fewer people want to share it.  I hunger for people to more fully discover the wonder and beauty of the Eucharist.  But I know my call is to serve.  There is hunger and there is blessing in knowing yourself as servant, not master.

Blessed are those who weep – who feel the suffering of others, who understand weakness because they know they are themselves weak; I weep for the goals I have not reached, for the example I have not given.  But I also know the blessing of laughter, for I have been helped by your honesty, your positive criticism and your faithfulness – to laugh at myself; not to take myself too seriously, and not to take for granted the riches in my life.  To be blessed in this way is to be truly blessed.

It is with these blessings that I move into a new phase of my life.  The “unknown” will unfold as it has always done.  Among you I have been, as Jeremiah puts it in the first reading, like a tree by the waterside, with my roots in the stream of your friendship and loving support.  I know Fr Doug and Debbie will find themselves in this same stream, so there’s no need for any of us to be afraid.

And then there is the stream into which we are all called – to be rooted and to grow in the waters of God’s love and kindness – to be a forest of faithfulness – putting our trust in God and letting the breeze of the Holy Spirit move through our branches, uniting us in the work of proclaiming the gospel of peace.

That remains our mission, wherever we are.

The Cathedral Connection 3 February 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


This weekend we welcome Fr Doug Shepherd to our parish community as Assistant Priest.  Fr Doug was previously at St Benedict’s in Khandallah, within St Francis of Assisi Ohariu Parish. Fr Doug, we look forward to working with you and getting to know you.

We are also beginning, this weekend, the new arrangements for Sunday Masses. The Saturday evening Vigil Mass and the Choral Mass at 10.30am on Sunday will be celebrated in St Thomas More Church, Wilton, and the Sunday evening 7.00pm Mass in the Cathedral Chapel.

The Parish Pastoral Council and Liturgy Committees thought very carefully about this arrangement. As St Thomas More is designed for worship, we will no longer have to set up and pack down every weekend. Furthermore, music will be much better provided for. As well as thanking St Mary’s College, I should like to thank all our musicians for ’keeping things going’ while we were in the college hall. The Sunday evening Mass is the ‘last Mass of the weekend’ in Wellington city, and an important ministry; we hope the chapel will be a suitable place for this celebration.

As the notice inside this newsletter says, there are some transport arrangements offered for getting to St Thomas More. In addition, if anyone is experiencing difficulties with the new arrangements, please let the parish office know; we cannot assist if we do not know.

As a community, we can only wait patiently for the time when we will be able to return to a strengthened cathedral.  We might remember that Scripture often speaks of times of wandering, of times of exile, and of times of waiting – as well as the joy of returning.

Jim McAloon
Chair, Parish Pastoral Council

The full newsletter can be viewed here.