Tag Archives: Parish

The Cathedral Connection 9 December 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Farewell From Our Parish School

On Tuesday the students and staff of Sacred Heart Cathedral School will gather to celebrate Eucharist and mark the end of their school year. They will also acknowledge and farewell Fr James who has spent many hours in the past 11 years walking alongside, ministering to, and supporting its students, families and teaching staff.  Below are just a few sentiments written by some Year 8 students who are also beginning a new chapter in their life journey.

“Whenever I go to Mass on a Sunday I always feel that the message Father James is giving is directed at me and helping me become a better person. Thank you Father James for helping me to think deeply and reflect about myself.”  – Annabelle Stirling

“Even though Father James is incredibly busy, visiting our school and people in the Parish he always has time to stop and listen to the students. Thank you Father James for the care and compassion you show towards us.”  – Sam Wells

“Father James spends a lot of time at Sacred Heart Cathedral School. He visits classes each week. He shares readings and prayers with us and helps us to understand the meaning so we can all become better people. Thank you Father James for always sharing your stories and jokes with us.” –  Elizabeth Whitaker.

“Father James shares personal stories to get his message across. Thank you Father James for encouraging us all to have faith during difficult times.” – Luc Boeschenstein

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 2 December 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

On Jordan’s Bank

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, in which we begin our spiritual preparation for Christmas.  We will be invited in the next weeks to reflect and pray, and to give as we might to those in material need.

One of the features of the Advent Gospel readings is a focus on John the Baptist. He features in all four Gospels – the three ‘synoptic’ gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so-called because they are identifiably similar in much of their material – and the rather different Gospel of John.  In all the gospels he is presented as the forerunner of Jesus, a witness to what is to come. He is also the subject of that beautiful English hymn, ‘On Jordan’s Bank’.

Like the older prophets of Israel, John preached both warning and reconciliation. He warned his listeners that they were not to rely on their status as children of Abraham; that what we do and how we treat others is what matters, and is how we are to be reconciled with each other and with God.

When the people asked him ‘what should we do?’ his message was simple. Be honest with yourselves and change what needs changing.  Turn away from greed, selfishness and abusive relationships.  Share your goods with those in need, and live in peace with each other.  Then, reconciliation will begin.

Simple advice, but I don’t find it easy to follow. In reflecting on Luke’s account of John the Baptist I am reminded of Pope Francis writing this year in ‘Rejoice and Be Glad’ that the call to holiness is for all of us, where we are, in our ordinary lives. During Advent we might reflect on the ways in which our hearts need to change, and where we need to be reconciled.

Jim McAloon, chair, Parish Pastoral Council

The full newsletter can be viewed here.




What would you like to ask God?  That question was put to a group of under ten-year olds.  They were given time to think and then asked to write down their question.  Here are some of them:

  • 7-year old: How many miracles have you done in your life?
  • 5-year old: When can I have the wine?
  • 4-year old: How do you feel when somebody falls over?
  • 5 years: What do you do in the rain?
  • Three nine-year olds: Why do sins happen?
    • How does prayer get up to you? Do you love me?

Wonderful, thoughtful, challenging questions.  They show an easy relationship with God – a personal connection, and also a deepening faith. The older ones starting to think more deeply:  Why do sins happen?

Everyone has questions.  We’re created to ask why and what and where and who and how.  Life is lived from question to question.  Mostly we ask questions of those we can trust; those who’ll take us seriously and won’t make fun of us because our questions seem simple or silly.  We learn by questioning.  And nearly all our questions have to do with finding our way in life: What’s my life about?  What’s it for?  Where’s it going?

Pilate has a question for Jesus: Are you the king of the Jews?  It’s a serious, probing question from a mind filled with anxiety, uncertainty:  Who is this Jesus?  Why is he causing such division?  Why is he not afraid?  Why am I so troubled about this case?  Pilate’s restlessness allows Jesus to identify himself.  He takes Pilate’s question seriously and answers clearly: Yes, I am a king!

But Pilate can’t get much further.  His understanding of kingship is modelled on his own culture where power is strength, not weakness.  So he can only conclude that Jesus is deluded.  He feels sorry for him, but he can’t help him.

What questions do you have for Jesus?  Especially relating to his claim to be king.  Whatever you’re asking, you’ll find answers right here in our Eucharist: the faith we share in Jesus, and his presence in our midst; his compassion and mercy, urging us to go from here to love and to serve, all point the way to a joy and fulfilment that cannot be found anywhere else.  This time together is our centring point.  In terms of confidence, trust and hope, we can do no better than respect the bond of our communion with one another.

You and I have the advantage over Pilate, because we know more of the story.  We know the followers of Jesus were so convinced he came back to life after his crucifixion, that they overcame their fear to spread that conviction throughout the known world.  They gave their own lives for that belief!  All that must mean something!

The children’s questions, simple and honest, came out of their own young life experience.  They really wanted to know.  You and I are older.  Can we be as honest as the children and only ask because we really want to know?  You ask such questions only of those whose love and tenderness you trust, because your heart tells you you’ll never have any need to fear the answers.

The Cathedral Connection 25 November 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.


 Who shot the barman is a race horse, named from an expression of the owner’s mother who wondered why she had to wait so long for another drink! Who shot the barman? she asked.

Our parish’s First Communion children are today fully initiated into the Church, with their Eucharist celebrated at St Teresa’s, Karori. Like so many before them, they have journeyed from Baptism through Confirmation to the moment of Communion. We congratulate them. It is truly a cause for humble pride and a sense of fulfilment. But – what happens after initiation?

I wonder how long these children will have to wait for their second Communion? Experience suggests that many will not return to Mass before Christmas, and perhaps not even then. This is an issue for parents and, in the lead-up to First Communion, emphasis is placed on the crucial role of the family in setting priorities for the health and growth of the whole person – spiritual, emotional, physical.

This is quite a challenge for parents who try to balance sporting interests, home life, work and school commitments. In this mix, personal spiritual development is easily forgotten or left out. It is hard to foster a love for the Eucharist, or any personal relationship with Jesus, if the family culture excludes or by-passes the spiritual component of living.

Today is also the festival of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church’s year, leading us to Advent and on to Christmas. Please pray for one another during this transition time. We enter a great season of joyful hope! Pray for our First Communion children, but also for those responsible for their care and upbringing. Give thanks to God for the gift of faith; may each of us value it above all else and nourish it with frequent Communion and loving service.

Fr James

The full newsletter can be viewed here.