Tag Archives: Michael Fletcher

The Cathedral Connection 1 March 2020

The full newsletter including Lenten Events can be viewed here

Imagine the cost of forty days and forty nights in a five star hotel. Pampered beyond belief and no doubt charged for the pleasure. Imagine too forty days and forty nights confined to a small room. A harsh reality for those who have been quarantined onboard cruise ships with the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). For Jesus too, he was quarantined, by the Spirit, in the wilderness, and as you may have worked out – quarantine means, literally, forty days.

Forty days of confrontation with the same temptations we have today and forty days with the sound of silence. Something that in our busy worlds we hardly get much of! The forty days of Lent are a wonderful opportunity to pause, listen, and in that time and space that silence holds, find a place where we can reflect.

Lent, much like life is not an exercise to be endured. It is a mystery to be unfolded, and it begins from the inside out. So rather than giving up chocolate or alcohol and then patting ourselves on the back and feeling good, perhaps we could dare to be more vulnerable and allow the Spirit to guide us to our own wilderness where we are challenged. In turn we are offered the opportunity to grow, beginning our own journey with Christ to his death and resurrection.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

The full newsletter including Lenten Events can be viewed here

The Cathedral Connection 23 February 2020

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Ah perfectionism my old friend. Often leaving me struggling against myself, or giving up before I’ve even given something a go because I ‘know’ that I can never do it to the level I or others would like me to. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear the call to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, I freeze.

These words come early in Jesus’ ministry and nearly three years later his own enemies would capture and persecute him. Would he really love and pray for his persecutors? Heck, I think we all would have understood if he decided to deny his earlier teaching; but, as we all know, there on the cross, Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

So if Jesus can do it, then surely I can, right? Each of our readings offers us guidelines to help us reach our potential. Indeed, loving our enemies takes a lot of learning about others as well as ourselves. It is a process of growth and transformation.

Christ showed his eternal love for us when he sacrificed his life on the cross. It was not sin that took Christ to the Cross, but love. And it is this love that guides us. His hands outstretched on the cross offer us that gift of transformation. This is not a one minute wonder product, but something that allows us to grow and mature, and it takes time. As we learn about others we move beyond our own prejudices and fears and grow in ourselves.

As Pope Francis says “… the way to perfection is found in these small steps … small steps of charity and love.” So, don’t let a drive to always get things right first time stop you from starting. Allow holiness to shape your life for the good of others as well as yourself. Christ’s love is a gift of transformation to be perfectly holy, by eliminating hatred and in turn gifting ourselves to each other in love.

Michael Fletcher
Director of Music

The full newsletter can be viewed here

The Cathedral Connection – Christmas Newsletter 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Christmas Newsletter 2019

Christmas is truly a feast of the heart. It reveals to us what the heart of God is like. He so loved humanity that He sent His only Son to redeem and save us.

It also reveals what the human heart is capable of. The nativity of Christ causes us to open our hearts and journey back to Bethlehem each year to rediscover our own roots in the gift of Jesus.

In Pope Francis Christmas message of 2018, ‘This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture.’ What makes us human is not so much our ability to think as our ability to love.

To the extent to which we open our hearts to God and to each other, we will experience something of the great joy the angels announced to the shepherds over two thousand years ago.

May great joy be yours this coming Christmas and always.

For what has been thanks for what is to come. Yes.

With every blessing, Fr Ron, Fr Doug, Debbie, Michael & Frank.

The full newsletter can be viewed here

The Cathedral Connection 1 December 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well, happy new church year is perhaps more accurate. As we start our season of Advent we are reminded that the Church and secular world are slightly off kilter with each other in terms of their time keeping. Shops have already started with the wonders of Christmas (and I’m sure remnants of Easter are still lurking on shelves as well) with bright lights and sales offers to satisfy our immediate desires and ‘needs’. I know I’ve been sucked in before, even if just for a block of Whittaker’s chocolate as a salve against more pressing issues I’d rather ignore!

Advent in the Church, however, makes no claim for instant satisfaction, and instead invites us to pay more attention to what is going on in our own environment, in our own hearts. At its heart Advent is a cry that yearns for a world that is fair, just and honest. Indeed, the call throughout Matthew’s Gospel is to justice. So, as St Paul calls us to “wake up” and be ready, let us look around us and within us, and with the gift of the Christ who has already come, make changes that see a world that is different, gentler, more robust, indeed transformed.

Let this New Year bring hope and joy, may we move away from a Christmas that some would believe is already here and instead embrace these four weeks of Advent. May we be transformed to bring forth His kingdom, one of inclusion, of compassion, integrity and generosity here on earth.

‘Yea, amen, let all adore thee … O come quickly; Alleluia! Come, Lord, come.’

Michael Fletcher
Cathedral Director of Music

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 27 October 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Sunshine and Gladness

I can still remember the 1970s animated adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant and probably more so one of the songs from it, sung by the Kings Singers.

Building a wall to surround you, Gathering all your treasures around you,
Living a life apart. Not having anyone near you; Building a wall and making them fear you, Saying you have no heart.

You’re a fool if you think you can live Your life without sharing sunshine and gladness; If you think you can live without love, You’re building a wall of sorrow and madness.

You’re building a wall to surround yourself; You’re just building a wall to protect yourself; You’re just building a wall to defend yourself, But you’re building a wall that will break your heart.

 For me, many of these stories and in my case the animated adaptations left me with something that lingered. Something that inspired a fresh look at elements of my own life. It is much like taking a mirror to what is and showing a vista to what might be. The end of story never really being the end.

Today’s parable provides stark lingering questions for us all: where do we place our trust and why do we judge those around us? Questions that are never easy to answer and rather uncomfortable as well. Perhaps it’s just easier to build a wall and deflect further thought?

Christ challenges us to think and reflect offering His love and mercy, for before him there is no need to fear. Our vulnerability is met and welcomed and the fragments of our lives are gathered up and transformed in to glimpses of hope. A hope that transforms how we see ourselves, how we present ourselves to others and in how we respond to them.

So don’t build a wall that will break your heart, instead let yourself be vulnerable and allow Christ’s love to enter and transform you. And don’t let that be the end of the story, when you leave here share that transforming love with all by sharing in their struggles thus building God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, sharing the sunshine and the gladness.

Michael Fletcher, Director of Music

The full newsletter can be viewed here.