No such thing as a silly questionby Ruth O’Brien
People talk about faith as being a list of rules or statements that you have to agree with. I think we can all think of plenty of examples of when religion can be used as a convenience rather than inspiration for living a bold life.
The turning point for many people is when they realise through their own experiences that God is a reality, Jesus is not an invention. For some people this can be a shock. For others it is a reassurance.
It’s what happens next that is hard. Finding people to talk to. Continuing to explore the implication of knowing God.
Alpha has been running for over 30 years. It began at Holy Trinity, in London - how’s that for a co-incidence?
Initially it was to give basic principles of the Christian faith to new Christians in a relaxed and informal setting. In 1990, one of it’s creators, Nicky Gumbel, realized this simple course could also appeal to non-churchgoers and he adapted the course to give it the kind of feel that would suit those who didn’t attend church.
Alpha spread during the 1990s, initially in the United Kingdom and then internationally, as more churches and groups found it a helpful way to answer questions about Christian faith, as well as Catholicism. There are now over 69,000 courses worldwide in 169 countries and it is supported by all the major denominations.
At 7.30pm on Tuesday 10 May we start the programme for Holy Trinity, in Wellington. We will be running two courses starting at the same time, helping people find answers to the questions on their mind.
For parents we will be starting a five session parenting course on how to build a strong family centred on love, meeting kids’ needs.
For everyone we will be starting a seven session faith course covering who Jesus is, why he died, why we have faith and pray and how God can guide us.
Both courses start at the same time. Which one is going to best help you find answers to the questions on your mind? Looking forward to seeing you there. Enrol by contacting me on 027 670 0365.
House to houseby David Hyland
In the Parish of Holy Trinity we have a Rosary statue that is passed house to house during the course of the year. All that is asked is that you use the Rosary Statue as part of your family prayer and pass it on to the next family each week. As part of our commitment to a prayerful Catholic community in the Eastern suburbs of Wellington; drawing strength from one another to grow and become fully alive as missionary disciples. What better foundation could we build on? If you would like to be on the roster please contact the Parish Office.
As encouragement the following is an extract from Saint Lois de Montfort:
I should like to give you even more reason for embracing this devotion which so many great souls have practised; the Rosary recited with meditation on the mysteries brings about the following marvellous results:
Blessed is the Rosary which gives us this science and knowledge of our Blessed Lord through our meditations on His life, death, passion and glory.
If by chance your conscience is burdened with sin, take your Rosary and say at least part of it, honouring some of the Mysteries of the life, passion or glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and be sure that, while you are meditating upon these Mysteries and honouring them He will show His sacred wounds to His Father in Heaven. He will plead for you and will obtain for you contrition and the forgiveness of your sins.
One day Our Lord said to Blessed Alanus de Rupe: "If only these poor wretched sinners would say My Rosary, they would share in the merits of My passion and I would be their Advocate and would appease My Father's Justice."
Being part of our parishby Helen Barber and Fiona D’Souza
St Patrick’s Primary School
As teachers we are blessed with the company of new minds, exploring the old world that is all too familiar to the rest of us.
Recently, we were exploring with students at St Patrick’s what it means to be part of the parish.
There was a real sense amongst the children of it helping them to be closer to God. One child went so far as to say it helped them to be part of God, which was an interesting expression of what many of their fellow students were trying to express.
There was very much a sense of the social elements, of being with friends, having the support of our priests and how we can “learn more things about God and teach other people about God”.
If we didn’t have a Parish we couldn’t get together and share our prayers. We wouldn’t be able to support each other.
In discussing our parish with students in our school there is no doubt that they see it as a special place. We all need a special place, somewhere we can connect with God.
Here’s a challenge to bring your faith to a new level.
For 10 days look up one of the assigned verses for the day and post it as your status. The whole thing as well as the address. You may post up to all three verses assigned for a day, but must post at least one.
This will help you to become more familiar with and more used to reading scripture. Many blessings can be expected.
Day 1: John 14:6, John 3:16, John 3:17
Day 2: 2nd Corinthians 5:17, 1st Corinthians 10:13, 2nd Corinthians 5:7
Day 3: Romans 12:2, Romans 5:8, Romans 1:16
Day 4: Philipians 4:8, Philippians 1:21, Philippians 3:14
Day 5: Psalms 139:14, Psalms 119:109, Psalms 113:3
Day 6: Jeremiah 1:7-8, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 40:31
Day 7: Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 14:12, Ephesians 6:11
Day 8: Mark 16:15, James 1:22, John 10:10
Day 9: Matthew 22:37, Matthew 6:19-20, Matthew 5:14
Day 10: Philippians 4:4, Galatians 2:16, 1st Thessalonians 5:17
Too Cool for Schoolby Alaister Straka
It's often quoted that 'humans are social beings'; indeed we tend to seek the approval of others and refrain from things that might earn disapproval. There's a logical fallacy devoted to 'appeal to popularity' (that is, that truth can be proved by popular concensus). We've all experienced peer pressure; the invisible weight that demands conformity.
Our social image means a lot to each of us but as Christians we have to be careful that that pressure doesn't pull us away from what is truly important, as what happened to some of the Pharisees - Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue [John 12:42].
Donald Knuth gives what is probably my favourite snippet on the subject, "if somebody asked what advice I give to a young person, I think one of the things that would come first to me is don't just believe that because something is trendy, that it's good. I'd probably go the other extreme where if I find too many people adopting a certain idea I'd probably think it's wrong or if, you know, if my work had become too popular I'd probably think I'd have to change. That's of course ridiculous but I see the other side of it too often where people will do something against their own gut instincts because they think the community wants them to do it that way." Although wisdom dictates that there is wisdom in numbers and in learning from our mistakes, there is also wisdom in realising that we don't have to be following others to be learning from their mistakes.
There are no shortage of warnings about popular teachings in the last days, Timothy includes quite a few. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. [2 Timothy 4:3-4].
This month challenge yourself and think about who and what influences you the most, and whether these influences draw you closer to God or push you away from Him.
Helpingby Lucy Gijsbers
St Vincent de Paul's simple but profound motto is People Helping People.
You may have heard someone speak about donating time, goods or money to St Vincent de Paul at Mass recently, or been to one of the numerous Vinnies op shops around Wellington. But have you REALLY thought much about what you could do to make a difference?
The Society of St Vincent de Paul was founded by Blessed Frederic Ozanam. He was heavily involved in works of charity in Paris, and believed the Church should be a
source of good instead of an institution that simply preaches about goodness.
In Wellington, the Society is made up of local groups helping those in the area. It does everything from visiting the lonely and ill every week to fund-raising and donating goods to those in dire need, including food parcels, clothing, furniture and other home items. St Vincent de Paul also offers pregnancy support, referrals to counseling and emergency shelter. Its social workers are available for advocacy assistance, and on its website is stated:
"Our key focus, after initial help has been given, is on budgeting assistance by helping everyone achieve self-sufficiency. This varies with each individual. Sometimes all you need is one week’s worth of groceries: short term support. Other times you need to keep coming back, managing your debt, and other support."
Young Vinnies is also run in schools around Wellington - if you go to St Pat's, St Mary's or St
Catherine's it would be well worth checking out!
“To be a part of the wider Catholic community helping the less fortunate is a privilege,” says Jack, the new co-president of the SPC Senior Vinnies. Another member, Toby, says “we have our usual events that are in the College calendar like street appeals, Easter egg and food bank collections and volunteering for Soup Kitchen. However, we hope to initiate some new ventures into the group later this year too.”
So, how can you help? Well, you could donate food or goods, money, or time. Some volunteer positions currently available are - shop assistant, van driver assistant, warehouse assistant sorter, administrative assistant and support worker assistant.
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