A family that raised a child
She was a solo mother. As for the guy hanging around her and the new baby, no one was quite sure how he fitted in. So the family life of Jesus began.
“Isn’t that the whole thing about family?” asks Holy Cross Principal Celeste Hastings. “There is no such thing as the perfect family. Each has its strengths and challenges. Let’s celebrate the realness of families.”
Holy Cross School certainly does that. In their community garden children, parents and grandparents are all digging and cultivating together. Celeste talks about the gift of time. When parents take the time to be part of their children’s sport, share their favourite stories and be together, great things happen.
Director of Religious Studies at St Anthony’s Denise Johnson agrees. “Everyone is busy, it comes down to what we prioritise”. Denise says the families that stand out are those that know how to love one another, know how to care for one another.
Love knows no bounds. “Families that see the bigger picture, see that it’s also not just about their unit. They reap what they sow”. She has noticed how “families that get involved in community, get to value the fact that they are not on their own”. Generation after generation gets to relearn the old truth that it takes a whole village to raise a child.
The staff at St Patrick’s nod their heads in agreement. In their discussion it is interesting to hear a number of families mentioned as standouts. The consensus seems to be that families that pray together, play together and work together. These are people that also have a sense of community and understand the idea that we can achieve more working together than working apart.
The bell is about to go for classes to start. There is a final comment that the best present you can give at Christmas, or any other time, is your own presence.
As we come to prepare for Christmas, thinking of Mary and Joseph preparing for the very first Christmas, Fr Ephrem hopes that we will be open to transformational celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Merry Christmas to Frs Ephrem, Gregory and Sanele. Fr Gregory has not been well, special blessings of Christmas to him as he recovers.
To you also the blessings of Christmas, most particularly it’s peace. Maybe it’s been a tough year for you and your family, relax and enjoy the peace of this special time of year. A family that raised a child
Calls to action:
Join St Patrick’s School on Wednesday 2 December at Lyall Bay as they work hard to clean up the beach for everyone to enjoy this summer
Life-teen events this month
St Patrick’s Church, 3 Childers Tce, all welcome 5.30 pm Mass, Life Night for Teens 6.30 pm
Test our new parish website www.holytrinity.parish.nz
The new computer/smart phone website is for you. It aims to make it easier for you to know what we are thinking and doing together as a parish, and who to contact to get involved. Your feedback on how the website can do this better is very welcome. Please send your ideas to email@example.com before 15 December.
End of school Mass
Join our students and teachers as they celebrate the end of another successful school year:
Your suggestions on how this magazine can be improved and articles for future editions would be most appreciated. Please send articles for our Lent issue to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2015 Synod on the Family
The 2015 Synod on the Family met in Rome from 4-25 October. New Zealand was represented by Cardinal John Dew, Bishop Charles Drennan from Palmerston North, Dr John Kleinsman, Director of the Nathaniel Centre, the Catholic bioethics agency in New Zealand, and Sharron Cole, who is Midwifery Council CEO and chairs the Boards of Parents Centres NZ.
Parishioners have been praying the prayer for the success of the Family Synod. There is much to read about on the Synod in the Catholic papers. Indeed it is quite interesting to get different perspectives from the NZ participants as they have written articles which appear in NZ Catholic and Wel-com.
We also filled in questionnaires earlier in the year and this was hoped would provide information for our bishops to reflect our views in the discussions in Rome. Now at the conclusion we expect to read of may be big decisions by the Synod meeting in the final document.
According to the popular press the main areas of interest were the issues of divorced and remarried persons receiving the sacraments and the Church’s attitude to homosexuals. From comments which appear in overseas catholic websites it seems that the final document is a “consensus” document and reflects the views of all participants. Pope Francis said in his speech at the conclusion of the Synod the Church’s “first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy, to call to conversion, and to lead all men and women to salvation in the Lord.”
There are no definite outcomes from the Synod on the topics highlighted by popular media, but the final document when it is available in English – although quite lengthy – will be worth reading – especially the paragraphs dealing with these issues. These are problems which we encounter regularly in our daily lives and we look to the Church to give us guidance dealing with these challenges in a positive Christian way.
- Eileen Healy. (Eileen for editing News and Views so well for so long and all the best for getting settled into your new place in the Hutt Valley)
Medics supporting life
Our bishops have said: ‘Life is full of blessings, challenges and opportunities. Even dying brings its own unique blessings, challenges and opportunities.
'Dying well' is as important as reaching our potential at school and at work, or finding happiness and fulfilment within our families and with our friends. The work of dying well often involves the healing and/or deepening of relationships.’
Yet some of our politicians are saying it is time to license doctors to kill people that are finding life too challenging.
As a member of Holy Trinity parish that seeks to bring life not death to our part of the world please make a submission against euthanasia being legalised.
Material has been published suggesting that it's not usually physical pain or suffering which causes a wish to end it all, but depression. When the depression is treated the wish to die disappears
Care Alliance is a made up of a number of organisations including the Nathaniel Centre. Care Alliance is nurturing better conversations about dying. On their website www.carealliance.org.nz are the simple steps you can take to make a submission to the Select Committee considering the issues - online, by email or letter. Your submission does not have to be an academic review, theological dissertation or anything formal. The best submissions are those from the heart or drawn from personal experience.
It is also important we keep our local MP informed of your views. Please also consider emailing Annette King your submission at: email@example.com - John Rogers
MAKE A SUBMISSION NOW AT: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/sc/make-submission/0SCHE_SCF_51DBHOH_PET63268_1/petition-of-hon-maryan-street-and-8974-others
Let me tell you a lesser known story of Santa Claus...
… It was at the Council of Nicaea that Santa Claus, St Nicholas, stood his ground on the divinity of Christ. It has been told that the debate became so heated that punches were exchanged. Saint Nicholas is said to have been locked up in the basement but released as the Council swayed back to his point of view.
The ultimate result of debate being the words of the Nicaean Creed we say today:
“God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made consubstantial (one in being) with the Father”.
St Nicholas stood up for what he knew to be right. He is an example for our time. He knew sacred scripture, he knew Jesus as God incarnate who entered, impacted and revolutionised the world.
This Advent, as we approach the day on which we will celebrate the birth of the divine Christ, we ask what would St Nicholas be saying to us? We know he would be asking us to be generous. We expect he would also be asking us to hold firm to the truth. - Max Fuher
Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Saviour, and we look forward to our Saviour’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. You may already know that the word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come. It’s meant to get us ready, not for a present opening party, but for a transformational celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Advent practices include lighting an Advent wreath, praying an Advent daily devotional, as well as other ways of preparing for Christmas, such as setting up Christmas decorations and carols. There are a few other things about Advent, besides its themes, that you might find odd if you’re unfamiliar with the season, for instance Advent colours. We associate Christmas and the weeks leading up to it with typical Christmas colours: red, green, white, silver, and gold. Advent of the other hand, features purple and pink. The purple colours signifies seriousness, repentance, and royalty. Pink points to the minor theme of Advent, which is joy. For observers of Advent, the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent are ‘purple’ Sundays. Only on the third is a ‘pink’ Sunday. The pink, joyful colour reminds us that, even as Advent helps us get in touch with our sober yearning for God to come to us, we know that he did in fact come in the person of Jesus. Thus, our major theme of waiting has a grace note of joy mixed in. A traditionally coloured Advent wreath will recognise the purple and pink colours of this season and have a central white Christ candle for Christmas Eve/Day. May you have a grace filled Advent season. – Fr. Ephrem
Help make a great cake we can eat together
Christmas cake time! Who makes the best cake? Who’s got Granny’s recipe? Margaret is the best decorator. So when’s the best time for our family to celebrate together?
Bit like the Liturgy isn’t it?
I asked the kids what a Christmas cake is. They told me “it’s got to have the fruit or it’s not a traditional Christmas cake! It can have any icing that looks right for Christmas. But it needs to be decorated with the colours of Christmas”.
Fact is: not all of them like fruit cake much but they wouldn’t accept that their favourite chocolate cake with orange icing could be a real Christmas cake.
Liturgy of the Mass is a bit like this. Some parts are like the fruit – they’ve got to stay. Others like the spices, liquid, the icing and the decoration of course - are open to change – and might actually make the Mass a better celebration for the whole family.
For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. -CSL, 21.
Why not think about offering your love of worshipping God? Serve your parish. The Diocese will be offering training sessions next year so there is training available.
The Liturgy Groups are really a subset of the Pastoral Council so there should be a representative on the Council, someone who understands and is deeply involved with the parish worship, knows, loves and reflects the people. We need a mix of young and old in our Liturgy Groups, people with ideas, people who will work together and share heaps of talents – always respectful of the things that can and can’t be changed. Are you ready to volunteer?
Sit in one of our churches, pray about offering your service and talents! We need you to help us celebrate. - Julie Marshall
...is editor of our monthly magazine. If you have news and views to share please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org