Tag Archives: Vocations

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 9 July 2019

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Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

This is a difficult time in our history to be asking people to think about vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Church throughout the world and continue to do so. It is hard to talk to young men about the possibility of priesthood when they hear so much about how so many have been abused and betrayed by those they should have been able to trust.

However, the call to priesthood must be talked about. It is still a rewarding and very satisfying life. It is a life of service and brings with it the incredible privilege of walking alongside others in all aspects of their lives. It gives those of us who are priests the chance to try to be the presence of Christ to others ….. and that is a privilege and a blessing that I cannot put into words. Even in the midst of a Church in disarray and disappointment the call to priesthood is obviously still there.

Vocations Awareness Week will be observed from 4th – 11th August throughout New Zealand. Will that week be any different for us from any other week of the year? Will our parishes, schools and colleges do something special to encourage teenagers and young adults to think about the possibility of priesthood and religious life? Will parents mention it as a possibility to their sons and daughters. Do the priests who read this newsletter regularly ask young men if they have thought about priesthood as a possibility?

A few months ago we formed an Archdiocesan Vocations Committee who are now working with Father David Dowling. This group of generous people, consisting of three women and two priests, is looking at ways to raise the profile of priestly vocations in the Archdiocese. In particular they will explore the promotion of vocations among young people, and assist in accompanying those who are considering priesthood.

Please pray in support of the work of the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee, and please reflect on how you could invite suitable young men to consider priesthood.

With thanks and every blessing.
Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

The Cathedral Connection 27 January 2019

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Dear Parishioners…

Following on is a situation in the game of cricket when a team is required to immediately bat its second innings because it lags far behind the opposition’s first innings total. But this front page effort is not about cricket, nor has it anything to do with lagging behind!!

This weekend closes my 11 years with you. Following on, is Fr Doug Shepherd. He takes up residence during this week and will be presiding at parish Masses from 1 February. You will be greatly blessed by his presence and ministry among you, and you are fortunate to actually have a priest to “follow on”.

It is apparent to most that priests are in short supply. New Zealand born candidates for priesthood are all but non-existent. There are many reasons suggested as to why our Catholic men are not making a life-choice for priesthood and you have voiced most of them to me. I am not listing or debating them here, but want to make some personal observations:

Over my years with Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, I have not been aware of any parent placing the priesthood before their son as a viable option; I have shared many family prayer times but have never heard a prayer for the family to be blessed with a religious vocation. It is easy to get the impression that being a priest is the last thing anyone wants for one of their own.

I am far from perfect and my imperfections may contribute to those negative reactions. But I wish I could let you all see how wonderful priesthood really is. Your support, your affection, the welcome place you make for me in your homes and in your lives, brings joy to my spirit and fulfills my own life. Fr Doug Shepherd and I share this same beautiful priesthood. It is not a wasted life but a treasure waiting to be found. Who will follow on…?

Fr James

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 14 June 2018

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Dear Friends,

A walk-through Portugal and Spain to the tomb of an apostle (St James) is obviously not possible for everyone. I am very aware that I am incredibly privileged to have been able to embark on this recent adventure. It was a walk filled with many blessings; many hours each day to pray and reflect, people from all over the world (I walked alone but met along the paths and in the evenings), beautiful and spectacular scenery, hot sunny days and fantastic food and wine.

However, it was a pilgrimage, and as I experienced eight years ago when I walked the French Camino, many of the experiences reflected the day to day challenges and experiences of life. Every day, as I started to walk I asked the assistance and company of the Saints I had chosen for my companions, Mary and Joseph, St Paul, St James (because of going to Sant Iago), St Anthony of Padua (born in Lisbon where I started the pilgrimage and whose Feast day was yesterday 13th June), St Catherine of Sienna and St Mary Mackillop. There were many times when I reflected on how much they all walked in their lives and what lessons I could learn from them.

There were two Scripture quotes I reflected on every day, “Remain in my love” (John 15:9) and “The Lord delights in his people” (Psalm 149:4). It was a blessing to be able to “remain” in God’s love and to know that God was enjoying this too.

Many times I sang (and I am not a singer) the Taize Magnificat and the hymn “Gentle as Silence.” It is such a simple hymn and has such profound words.

Oh, the love of my Lord is the essence of all that I love here on earth. All the beauty I see God has given to me, and the giving is gentle as silence.

Every day, every hour, every moment have been blessed by the strength of God’s love. At the turn of each tide God is there at my side, with a touch that is gentle as silence.

There’ve been times when I’ve turned from your presence, and I’ve walked other paths, other ways. But I’ve called on your name in the dark of my shame, and your mercy was gentle as silence.

Day after day I experienced the gentle generous giving of God – and thought of what we have been saying here in the Archdiocese in terms of Stewardship about receiving the gifts of God with gratitude and using them responsibly. I had the opportunity in the silence of my walking to discover anew that “every day, every hour, every moment” were blessed by the strength of God’s love.

I also knew I was accompanied by much love and prayer from people here at home. I thank you sincerely for that. The point of my pilgrimage was to pray for vocations, that intention was very much in my prayer every day. I ask that you continue to pray with me for vocations.

With every blessing

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.