Tag Archives: Synod ’17

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 8 February 2018

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From +John…

Dear Friends

This time next week we will be in Lent and Pope Francis has told us in his 2018 Lenten Message: “Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.” He went on to say, “I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth.” They are wonderful invitation to all of us, and for all those we minister to in our parishes, teach in our schools and colleges, and those we interact with in daily life. It’s an important and essential question to ask ourselves in prayer throughout this time of Lent – ‘What do I need to do to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly in every aspect of my life?’ and ‘What do I need to do to experience this time of grace anew?’

It is also important to ask ourselves how we help others to do this. We probably all struggle ourselves to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and could do with an encouraging word or smile, a promise of prayerful support, or even an invitation to pray with someone else. Lent is an invitation to “think differently,” to think differently about how we pray, about how we either do or don’t do everything as a disciple of Jesus. Therefore, another helpful question is ‘In what ways can I think differently about my life to be renewed and live whole-heartedly for God?’

Two days after Lent begins, Friday 16th February, is also the day for all Catholics throughout New Zealand to observe the Day of Prayer and Penance for Victims of Abuse and Violence in New Zealand. Last year the Bishops Conference was invited with other Bishops’ Conferences around the world to join in a day of prayer for the victims of abuse and violence (this was at the suggestion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors). The New Zealand Bishops decided to hold this day at the beginning of Lent. We all know that many people are the victims of violence in our society, especially many young people. Sadly, we know too that young and vulnerable people have been victims of abuse at the hands of some Clergy. It is appropriate that we have a day to pray for ALL victims of violence and abuse and to acknowledge again the terrible impact of abuse by members of the Church, and all other violent and abusive acts in New Zealand. Please pray for them on Friday 16th February.

Suggestions for Prayer of the Faithful 16 February 2018

• That the cries of those who have been abused in body, mind and spirit, suffered in violent relationships and betrayed by the trust they placed in others, may call forth from us a passion for justice and reparation. Let us pray to the Lord:
• That those who live and work with our abused and violated brothers, sisters and children may bind tangible ways to affect renewed dignity, healing and forgiveness. Let us pray to the Lord.

With every blessing for a prayerful and Spirit filled Lent.


As the End of Life Bill starts the process of being debated in Parliament Please all invoke the intercession of Suzanne Aubert

Dear Friends,
At our Archdiocesan Synod last year one of the proposals was “The Archbishop with the Council of Priests supports the ministry of preaching in a planned and resourced way.” We will be working on that throughout the year ahead. Yesterday (7th February), at the General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Mass. He spoke of the Readings and the Homily. I have therefore extracted the part about the homily as he makes some very important points that are well worth all of us reflecting on.
With blessings


“I have already addressed the argument of the homily in the Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, where I re-called that the liturgical context “calls for the preaching to orient the assembly, and also the preacher, to a communion with Christ in the Eucharist, which transforms life.”

One who gives the homily must fulfil well his ministry – he who preaches, the priest, or the deacon or the Bishop, offers a real service to all those taking part in the Mass, but those who hear him must also do their part. First of all, by paying due attention, namely, by assuming the right interior dispositions, with-out subjective demands, knowing that every preacher has merits and limitations. If sometimes there is rea-son to be bored by a long, or unfocused, or incomprehensible homily, at others times, in stead, it’s preju-dice that is the obstacle. And one who gives a homily must be conscious that he’s not doing something of his own; he is preaching, giving voice to Jesus, he is preaching the Word of Jesus. And the homily must be well prepared; it must be brief, brief! A priest said to me that once he went to another city where his par-ents lived and his father said to him: “You know, I’m happy, because along with my friends we found a church where there is Mass without a homily!” And how often we see that during the homily some fall asleep, others chat or go outside to smoke a cigarette . . . Therefore, please, make the homily brief, but it must be well prepared. And how is a homily prepared, dear priests, deacons and Bishops? How is it pre-pared? With prayer, with the study of the Word of God and by doing a clear and brief synthesis; it must not go beyond ten minutes, please.”


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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 25 January 2018

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Dear Friends

Happy New Year and all good wishes and blessings for 2018.

Over the last few days I have been really delighted and heartened to hear of a whole range of initiatives that parishes and Archdiocesan organizations are taking or planning for this year. I have been particularly delighted to hear about how last year’s Synod proposals are being reflected on, prayed with and discussed so that they can be built into goals and plans for the year ahead.

In the latter part of last year a few people said to me that they hoped that the Synod would be effective and that the final document of the Synod would not just lie on a shelf and be forgotten. The Synod will be effective if we ALL continue the kind of discernment process we used, and look to see what we can do to make those 96 proposals reality. The Synod reflected on being sent to find new leaders, about adventurous people with initiative who can lead the parish in identifying and responding to community needs, and how to encourage them to come forward. That is starting to happen and I am very grateful. An example of this is happening this weekend in Star of the Sea Parish, Marlborough, where there is to be a gathering of people from all over the parish in the Kaikoura end of the parish. Since the 2016 November earth-quake Kaikoura has been isolated. Now that the road is open (most of the time) people will gather in Kaikoura for Mass, a BBQ and have time to reflect together on how they will respond to the Synod proposals.

As well as what is happening in parishes, the Archdiocesan General Manager and the Directors of Finance, Youth and Family, Parish Leadership, Education, Catholic Social Services, Tūranga Māori have all reflected on the Synod and are building into their plans for the year ways they can focus on achieving some of the hopes and expectations of the Synod.

I love the quote from the writer Thomas Moore which says: “It’s my conviction that slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change… deep changes in life follow movements in |imagination.” We have a volume of rich material in our Synod document, the fruit of many hours of prayer and discernment and the collective wisdom of many people. It is going to be wonderful this year to see how parishes, organizations, and schools can use this material, not necessarily by making major changes, but by “slight shifts in the imagination” which will bring new life and energy to the mission we are privileged to share together.

Just a few days ago I discovered some words of Brother David Steindl-Rast: “Live as if nothing is promised to you.” If we live this year as if nothing is promised to us, the world does not owe us a living, recognizing that all is gift and God is the Giver behind the Gift, then this will be a wonderful year.

I wish everyone a year of blessings, a year of making “slight shifts in our imaginations,” a year recognizing that all is Gift.

With abundant blessings
+ John

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The Cathedral Connection 15 October 2017

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The Parish Delegates Synod 17 Reflection insert can be viewed here.


My time away from the parish over these past six weeks could not have been possible without the cheerful assistance of several people willing to share themselves and their time. Fr Ron and Fr Soane from Otari Parish and Fr Jim Dooley from Marist Centre enabled the schedule of Masses to continue and stepped in to cover emergencies. Our parish secretary, Frank Doherty, supported by music director, Michael Fletcher, kept the office humming beautifully and our newly appointed Lay Pastoral Leader, Fiona Rammell, gave wonderful service.

This combination of talent and commitment gave me the security to relax and enjoy a great holiday, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I’m also grateful that you, dear parishioners, kept turning up! That speaks so positively for the leadership you experienced. Thank you, everyone!

So much of significance occurred during my absence and I shall reflect a little on that in my homily today. But, looking ahead, I want to encourage you to prepare for our response to Pope Francis’ invitation to spend time with Sacred Scripture – specifically in the Masses of 28-29 October.

There will be only one Reading in that Sunday Mass, the Gospel [Matthew 22:34-40] and we will spend time together listening to it and uncovering its message for each of us. The technique is known as Lectio Divina, with emphasis on truly hearing the Word of God, letting that Word settle within me, drawing me to realise its relevance for my life as a follower of Christ.

Remember that Scripture is the living Word of God and as such is pulsating, dynamic, energising. By opening heart and mind to its influence, it can guide, challenge, comfort and renew both personal and community life. Prepare by reading the whole chapter [Matthew 22]. Using a Bible in your first language might be even more profitable. More on this next week.

Thank you for your love and support. It is good to be back home.

Fr James

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 12 October 2017

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Dear Friends,
At the Closing Mass of our Synod on 17 September people were given a prayer card as they left the Cathedral. On the card was a photo of the stained glass window of the Josephite Convent in Mission Bay, Auckland. The window has the following words on it, words attributed to Nano Nagle, the Foundress of the Presentation Sisters.

“Go out, you may not rest secure for need calls loudly. You must seek God there. Loving shall be your flame.”

Need does call loudly. That need is in our homes, work-places, factories, offices, schools, on the streets; it is the needs of young children, teenagers, young marrieds and their families, the mid-dle aged ad the elderly. Various proposals out of the 96 I received spoke of all those age groups and the multi-faceted needs that are “out there.”

All of the proposals and the practical actions that came out of the Synod will be published in the next edition of WelCom on Sunday 5 November. The synod Outcomes booklet containing all the outcomes of the Synod will also be available at that time. That is also the day that I will formally promulgate the work of the Synod at the monthly Young Church Mass at the Cathedral at 7pm. I will ask every parish to read out my Promulgation Letter, and to draw attention to the Synod outcomes in WelCom.

Need does call loudly. Nano Nagle has reminded us that we find God in these needs. The Archdiocese, its parishes and schools, organizations and departments will all begin to plan as to how these needs identified at the synod can be met. To assist parishes there is a section in the Outcomes Booklet on developing a pastoral plan which provides guidance on how to move ahead with implementing the Synod directions and priorities. This section will be sent directly to Parish Leadership teams and Chairs of Pastoral Councils in the next week.

Since the Synod I have been thrilled at how many people have commented about how much they appreciated the discernment process we used. They have said they are applying it to their own personal lives, their families and in some cases their work.
Please continue to reflect on and use this process, it will help us all to discern

-where we are to go out to
-what the needs are that are calling loudly
-where will find God
-how loving will be our flame.

With all good wishes and blessings

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter – 28 September 2017

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago when I wrote this Newsletter it was the day before our Synod “Go, you are Sent” began. It was a wonderful weekend, thank you all for your prayers, which most certainly helped the Synod to run smoothly and which enabled people to participate fully in the listening and discernment process. If there was one message I heard from people over the weekend it was about how much they appreciated the prayerful discern-ment process and the wish that such processes could be used in parish life. There is absolutely no reason why that cannot happen, and indeed I hope that it will.

A huge amount of work went into the Synod:

  • the planning of the Synod Committee,
  • the training of facilitators and scribes,
  • the two pre-synod days in May,
  • the engagement in the consultation phase and the extensive feedback,
  • the actual participation over the weekend,
  • the liturgies and prayer over the weekend
  • the analysis of recommendations as they came in


In a way the work now begins. I have received a total of 96 recommendations. They are all important for the life of the Archdiocese and I will be planning, with others, as to how these recommendations can become reality. Some things are clear:

  • we all need to be involved and we all need to do some things differently,
  • theological, spiritual and liturgical formation has been identified as a major requirement,
  • it is essential that we search out, identify and go to the peripheries,
  • we are to embrace bicultural relationships as an integral part of all that we do

There are many more challenges before us. I will need the generosity and creativity of all of you to help give life and energy to the Archdiocese, its parishes, schools, colleges, organisations, families and to every individual.

Pope Francis sent us a wonderful message for the Syn-od. His challenge to us was to be “authentic missionary disciples.”

That is a challenge to us all, we can do it but we are never disciples alone.
We are always disciples together and we are always gifted with the Spirit of God.
Thank you again for the wonderful support for the Synod.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.