Tag Archives: Parish

The Cathedral Connection 18 November 2018

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Are you ready?

 Mark’s account of this week’s Gospel is often called ‘The little Apocalypse’.  It is a discourse by Jesus about the end of time. Our life on earth is part of the paschal mystery, the dying and rising of Christ.

Our time here is grace.  It is a free gift.  Nothing we did or will do earned our existence, and nothing we do can guarantee our number of days here. Our time on this earth is limited.  Our life will come to an end; of that we can be sure.  ‘But of the day or hour, no one knows’.  In this Gospel Christ wants to remind us of the need to remain prepared, not in worry and fear, but in the love of God and in charity and compassion towards the needy.

Christ calls us to embrace not the things of the world but the things of God: the eternal treasures of love and mercy, the joy that comes from selfless giving, the satisfaction that comes from lifting up the hopes and dreams of others.

The Collect prayer today identifies for us where the source of “constant gladness” and “full and lasting happiness” is to be found: it is to be found in serving “with constancy the author of all that is good”.  This Collect asks that we make sure we are using all our gifts and resources to serve God well.

We love God whom we cannot see through loving our neighbour whom we can see, and we praise the Creator whom we cannot see through valuing the creation we can see.  How is God being served through your gifts and resources.

Debbie Matheson
Lay Pastoral Leader

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The Cathedral Connection 11 November 2018

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An ending, but the pain lives on.
Warring warriors weapons-fed
return to homes not seen for years
to hope-filled dreams not seen for tears
living, but with lives on lease
only warring warriors dead
can rest in peace.

Comfort us who mourn the loss
of lives in battles won or lost
war brings to life a dreadful cost
then nails it fast upon a cross.

The talks agree the fighting’s done
armistice has now become
the way ahead for all who come
to live as one without the gun.

Within the soul does love exist
And buoyed by hope cannot resist
To strengthen faith through cloud and mist
To await with joy our armistice.

– Fr James

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The Cathedral Connection 4 November 2018

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Saying Yes

Last weekend I attended the Archdiocesan Stewardship Retreat. The theme was based around the Sunday’s gospel reading – the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus. We were invited to reflect on a number of themes, including Jesus’ question to Bartimaeus, ‘what would you like me to do for you?’ We were also invited to imagine putting this question to Jesus – what would he like us to do for him?

Turning the question around in this way emphasized that we are all called – as Pope Francis has recently reminded us – to be holy, and for most of us holiness lies in the ordinary things of life rather than in heroic achievements.

I remembered reading somewhere years ago that we can be apprehensive about saying ‘yes’, because we don’t know where it will lead, what other ‘yes’ will be asked of us as a consequence.

We offer our time, our talent, and our treasure in our parish and other communities, and this willing giving is what makes our parish the community it is. We give in this way – we say ‘yes’ – because we see a need, or because we are asked to, not for prestige or status. For all of us in this parish community, we are encouraged to say ‘yes’, because we know that we are supported by each another.  So it was when I was asked, several weeks ago, to become parish pastoral council chair – and I want to thank Nicholas Burley for his capable, kind and thoughtful leadership of the council over the last two years.

As we negotiate our building issues, many of us have been, and will be, asked to say ‘yes’ to things we did not expect.  We thank you for being open to requests and your offers of help. We take heart this week in knowing that the Chapel and Connolly Hall will be re-opened later this month.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council

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HOMILY – 30th SUNDAY [B] 2018                                                               [Mark 10:46-52]

Fr Bill Clancy, a priest of our Archdiocese, has been retired in Whanganui for many years.  I visited him last Wednesday for his 93rd birthday.

I was an altar boy when Fr Bill came to my hometown of Dannevirke as a young priest, not long out from Ireland.  Like the aging parish priest he had come to assist, also from Ireland, he left home and family to give his life in service to the Church in New Zealand.  He has been a priest for 66 years.

I remember marvelling at their generosity and courage.  They both greatly influenced my decision to apply to prepare for priesthood.

The week before, I officiated at the Requiem Mass for another 93-year old Bill, Bill Maher.  It is eight years since his wife, Patricia, died and they had been married for 62 years, parishioners among us, faithful witnesses in their devotion to the Eucharist and in their love for one another.  Until just a few months ago, Bill was a regular at our weekday Mass.  He told me he owed everything to his faith.  It’s got me through some tough times!  He was recalling not only the death of Patricia, but also the premature death of their son, Kevin.

Generosity and courage are standout qualities in these lives – and I’m sure you know people who display them.  These qualities are directly related to today’s gospel and the central character, Bartimaeus.  A blind beggar whom the people try to shut up and shut out!  Jesus hears the commotion and calls him over.  What does Bartimaeus do?  He throws off his cloak, jumps up and goes to Jesus.  His blindness doesn’t stop him because he hears and recognises the voice of Jesus and is drawn to it.  He throws off his cloak – as a beggar it would be his most secure possession, his protection.  He lets it go, to follow Jesus.

Much more than the apostles did (last Sunday) – they wanted to hold on to power and prestige, and wanted to follow Jesus without giving up anything.

My 93-year old friends learned early in their lives that they couldn’t hope to see everything ahead of them.  They were comfortable with their blindness, seeing with the eyes of faith, responding to the inner voice they knew to be Jesus, trusting the way he would lead them.  Generosity and courage.

The blind man asked Jesus: Master, let me see againThat tells us he was once able to see.  How many among your family and friends have let faith slip away from them; or allowed some tragedy or setback blind them from the trust they once had in the company of Jesus?  Pray for them today; don’t shut them out.  Very likely they would love to see again.

And pray for yourselves and each other – for the generosity and courage to throw off your cloak, or whatever it is that would limit your trust, or your ability to follow Jesus, all the way.

Pray, with today’s Psalm, that we might all be filled with joy, knowing what great things the Lord has done for us!

The Cathedral Connection 28 October 2018

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 This week the whole Church gets together!  All the Saints come to meet us on Thursday and the next day we spend time remembering our beloved dead.  All Saints Day (Nov 1) and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (Nov 2) focus on the Body of Christ in its totality: the Church on earth and the Church in heaven.  One family, under one God.

Those officially recognised as saints are models of Christian living.  They show us what faith, hope and love make possible, and urge us on to live the way of Jesus with joy and trust. The saints are not gods, but people like you and me.  They simply took Jesus at his word and followed him.  Life for them, as for us, was not easy but they persevered and put the needs of others ahead of their own.

Baptism has already sanctified us; we are members of the Body of Christ – saints in the making.

Praying with and for the faithful departed reinforces belief in the “hereafter”.  It announces that in death life is changed, not ended.  Those who say there is nothing beyond this life, that dust is all we have to look forward to, are to be most pitied.  They shut themselves off from any hope of reunion with loved ones; for them love is fleeting; consoling, but not enduring.

That Jesus truly died, was buried and truly rose from the dead, is the core belief of Christianity.  It is our buffer against disappointment and sadness, while giving life meaning and purpose.  We miss those who have died, but they are not far away.  They are with God, and God is very near. All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.  Honouring them, we honour life.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.